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Virol J. 2009 Dec 21;6:225. doi: 10.1186/1743-422X-6-225.

Identification of a novel betaherpesvirus in Mus musculus.

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Division of Viral Infections, Robert Koch Institute, Berlin, Germany.


Rodent betaherpesviruses vary considerably in genomic content, and these variations can result in a distinct pathogenicity. Therefore, the identification of unknown betaherpesviruses in house mice (Mus musculus), the most important rodent host species in basic research, is of importance. During a search for novel herpesviruses in house mice using herpesvirus consensus PCR and attempts to isolate viruses in tissue culture, we identified a previously unknown betaherpesvirus. The primary PCR search in mouse organs revealed the presence of known strains of murine cytomegalovirus (Murid herpesvirus 1) and of Mus musculus rhadinovirus 1 only. However, the novel virus was detected after incubation of organ pieces in fibroblast tissue culture and subsequent PCR analysis of the supernatants. Long-distance PCR amplification including the DNA polymerase and glycoprotein B genes revealed a 3.4 kb sequence that was similar to sequences of rodent cytomegaloviruses. Pairwise sequence comparisons and phylogenetic analyses showed that this newly identified murine virus is most similar to the English isolate of rat cytomegalovirus, thereby raising the possibility that two distinct CMV lineages have evolved in both Mus musculus and Rattus norvegicus.

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