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Virology. 1989 Oct;172(2):435-50.

Herpes simplex virus neurovirulence and productive infection of neural cells is associated with a function which maps between 0.82 and 0.832 map units on the HSV genome.

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Department of Molecular Genetics, Biochemistry and Microbiology, University of Cincinnati, Ohio 45267-0524.


A herpes simplex virus (HSV) intertypic recombinant (RE6) has been shown to be completely and specifically non-neurovirulent in mice. Direct intracranial inoculation of 10(8) PFU of RE6 does not result in a lethal encephalitis. Neurovirulent recombinant viruses were generated by cotransfection of RE6 DNA with DNA fragments cloned from the pathogenic HSV-1 strain 17 syn+. It was found that a 1.6-kb fragment mapping between 0.82-0.832 m.u. could restore the neurovirulent phenotype. Recombinants which incorporated at least part of this fragment were at least 100,000-fold more neurovirulent than RE6. The recombinants displayed a greatly enhanced capacity to replicate in mouse brain in vivo, but did not display enhanced replication over that of RE6 in cultured mouse cells at 38.5 degrees. Immunohistochemical analysis of infected mouse brain tissue revealed that the permissive host cell range of the recombinants was dramatically altered from that of RE6. While antigen positive cells were extremely rare in mouse brain tissue infected with RE6, the neurovirulent recombinants produced antigens in many cell types including neurons. Thus, wild-type HSV-1 sequences mapping between 0.82-0.832 m.u. can donate a highly neurovirulent phenotype to RE6.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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