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J Virol. 2012 Feb;86(3):1877-82. doi: 10.1128/JVI.06600-11. Epub 2011 Nov 30.

Multiple defects, including premature apoptosis, prevent Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus replication in murine cells.

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  • 1Howard Hughes Medical Institute and G. W. Hooper Foundation, Departments of Microbiology and Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, California, USA.


The development of a mouse model for Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) infection has been impeded by the limited host range of the virus. Here, we have examined the molecular basis of this host range restriction. KSHV efficiently enters murine cells and establishes latency. However, ectopic expression of the lytic switch protein RTA (replication and transcription activator) in these cells induces little viral gene expression and no virus production. Upon treatment with histone deacetylase inhibitors, KSHV-infected murine cells display more extensive but aberrant viral transcription and do not support either viral DNA synthesis or the production of infectious virions. These aberrantly infected cells also display markedly enhanced apoptosis. Genetic ablation of the mitochondrial apoptotic pathway in these cells prolongs their survival and permits viral DNA replication but does not rescue the generation of virions. We conclude that multiple defects, both prior to and following DNA synthesis, restrict lytic KSHV infection in murine cells.

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