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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1990 Jan;87(2):748-52.

Isolation of a new herpesvirus from human CD4+ T cells.

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  • 1Laboratory of Viral Diseases, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases/Twinbrook II, National Institutes of Health, Rockville, MD 20852.

Erratum in

  • Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 1990 Oct;87(19):7797.


A new human herpesvirus has been isolated from CD4+ T cells purified from peripheral blood mononuclear cells of a healthy individual (RK), following incubation of the cells under conditions promoting T-cell activation. The virus could not be recovered from nonactivated cells. Cultures of lymphocytes infected with the RK virus exhibited a cytopathic effect, and electron microscopic analyses revealed a characteristic herpesvirus structure. RK virus DNA did not hybridize with large probes derived from herpes simplex virus, Epstein-Barr virus, varicella-zoster virus, and human cytomegalovirus. The genetic relatedness of the RK virus to the recently identified T-lymphotropic human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6) was investigated by restriction enzyme analyses using 21 different enzymes and by blot hybridization analyses using 11 probes derived from two strains of HHV-6 (Z29 and U1102). Whereas the two HHV-6 strains exhibited only limited restriction enzyme polymorphism, cleavage of the RK virus DNA yielded distinct patterns. Of the 11 HHV-6 DNA probes tested, only 6 cross-hybridized with DNA fragments derived from the RK virus. Taken together, the maximal homology amounted to 31 kilobases of the 75 kilobases tested. We conclude that the RK virus is distinct from previously characterized human herpesviruses. We propose to designate it as the prototype of a new herpesvirus, the seventh human herpesvirus identified to date.

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