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Virology. 2011 Apr 25;413(1):1-11. doi: 10.1016/j.virol.2010.12.036. Epub 2011 Feb 25.

Infection of primary human tonsillar lymphoid cells by KSHV reveals frequent but abortive infection of T cells.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Departments of Microbiology & Medicine and GW Hooper Foundation, University of California, San Francisco, CA 94143, USA.


The lymphotropic herpesvirus KSHV principally infects B cells in vivo and is linked to several human B cell lymphoproliferative syndromes. Here we examine the susceptibility of primary tonsillar lymphocytes to infection by a recombinant KSHV (rKSHV.219) that constitutively expresses GFP. At an MOI of ~1, ca. 5-10% of CD19+ B cells became GFP-positive. Surprisingly, in the same culture many more T cells became infected. However, in contrast to isolated B cells, isolated infected T cells did not support correct viral transcription and did not produce infectious virus, indicating the presence of one or more post-entry blocks to lytic KSHV replication in T cells. No immortalization or transformation has yet been observed in either B or T cells. These results affirm the feasibility of studying KSHV infection in primary lymphoid cells, and help to rationalize the detection of KSHV DNA in rare human T cell lymphomas in vivo.

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