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Future Virol. 2009 Nov 1;4(6):591.

Directional transneuronal spread of α-herpesvirus infection.

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Department of Pharmacology, Weill Medical College, Cornell University, New York, NY 10065, USA.


Most α-herpesviruses are pantropic, neuroinvasive pathogens that establish a reactivateable, latent infection in the PNS of their natural hosts. Various manifestations of herpes disease rely on extent and direction of the spread of infection between the surface epithelia and the nervous system components that innervate that surface. One aspect of such controlled spread of infection is the capacity for synaptically defined, transneuronal spread, a property that makes α-herpesviruses useful tools for determining the connectivity of neural circuits. The current understanding of intra-axonal transport and transneuronal spread of α-herpesviruses is reviewed, focusing on work with herpes simplex virus and pseudorabies virus, the available in vitro technology used to study viral transport and spread is evaluated and how certain viral mutants can be used to examine neural circuit architecture is described in this article.

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