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J Med Virol. 1996 Aug;49(4):264-73.

Enhancement of varicella-zoster virus infection in cell lines expressing ORF4- or ORF62-encoded proteins.

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Department of Microbiology, University of Li├Ęge, Belgium.


Varicella-Zoster virus (VZV) open reading frames 4 (ORF4) and 62 (ORF62) encode putative immediate early proteins (ORF4p and ORF62p, respectively) which are strong transactivators of other VZV genes and are involved in the very early stages of viral infection. ORF4p and ORF62p transactivate immediate-early and early gene promoters but have little or no effect on late gene promoters. To investigate the effect of ORF4p or ORF62p overexpression on the viral replication cycle, we constructed Vero cell lines expressing those genes under the control of the human cytomegalovirus major immediate-early promoter. VZV OKA infection of these stably transformed cell lines was followed-up using VZV glycoprotein E (gE) antigen quantification and virus titration. Upon serial passaging of infection in these cell lines expressing functionally active ORF4p or ORF62p, a 5- to 10-fold increase in viral gE antigen production was observed. Viral titers also demonstrated a 2- to 5-fold increase in viral production in these transformed cell lines. These results emphasize the role that both ORF4p and ORF62p play in enhancing the VZV replicative cycle.

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