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Virology. 1993 Mar;193(1):193-200.

Varicella-zoster virus transcription in human trigeminal ganglia.

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Medical Virology Section, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892.


Our laboratory previously reported in situ hybridization analyses showing varicella-zoster virus (VZV)-specific RNA transcripts in latently infected human trigeminal ganglia. These transcripts were found exclusively in non-neuronal cells and emanated from at least three separate regions of the VZV genome, those encompassing restriction fragments BamHI-EY, EcoRI-B, and BamHI-J. Extending these in situ studies, we now report that VZV RNAs colinear with open reading frames (ORFs) 29 and 62 are demonstrable in non-neuronal cells; however, neither VZV RNA colinear with ORF 28 nor antisense RNAs of ORFs 29 and 62 are detected. Northern hybridization analyses of poly(A)+ RNA from human trigeminal ganglion pools also reveal VZV-specific transcripts corresponding to ORFs 29 and 62, but not those of ORFs 28 or 61. The ORF 29- and 62-specific transcripts are similar to those expressed in productive infection, with regard to size and polyadenylation. The cumulative findings suggest that VZV latency is characterized by selected expression of multiple genes, which appear to include some but not all putative immediate-early and early genes.

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