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J Virol Methods. 2009 Jul;159(1):127-30. doi: 10.1016/j.jviromet.2009.03.002. Epub 2009 Mar 14.

Length variability of telomeric repeat sequences of human herpesvirus 6 DNA.

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Laboratoire de Virologie, Université Pierre et Marie Curie-Paris 6 EA2387, AP-HP, Groupe Hospitalier Pitié-Salpêtrière, Paris, France.


The telomeric repeat sequences (TRS) located near both ends of human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6) genome are unique structures of unknown function among human herpesviruses. The goal of the present study was to investigate the variability of TRS copy number among different laboratory strains and HHV-6-infected clinical specimens regarding the two variants A and B of HHV-6. DNA obtained from infected cells was submitted to a PCR assay designed to amplify the part of genome containing TRS specifically either for HHV-6A or HHV-6B. Amplicons were analyzed by electrophoresis on agarose gel with ethidium bromide staining and nucleotide sequencing. The number of TRS copies was highly variable among the distinct laboratory strains and clinical specimens studied, ranging from 15 up to more than 180. However, this number was constant for a given strain after serial propagation in cell cultures as well as in different samples from the same subject. This permitted to detect a mixed infection with two distinct strains of HHV-6A within the same patient. The PCR-based analysis of HHV-6 TRS has a limited sensitivity but is highly specific, which provides the opportunity to include it in the set of molecular tools dedicated to the study of HHV-6 epidemiology.

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