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J Virol. 1998 May;72(5):3837-44.

Temporal mapping of transcripts in herpesvirus 6 variants.

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1
Dipartimento di Medicina Sperimentale e Diagnostica, Università di Ferrara, Italy.

Abstract

To define the molecular features characteristic of the early stages of infection of lymphocytes with human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6) variant A or B, we studied the temporal regulation of expression of selected sets of viral genes. Thus, U42, U94, U89-U90, U73, and U39 are alpha genes since their transcripts (i) were made in the presence of inhibitors of protein synthesis and (ii) were detected 3 h after infection of untreated cells. U41, U53, U31, and U19 are beta genes since their expression is inhibited by cycloheximide but not by phosphonoacetate, an inhibitor of DNA synthesis. U100 is a gamma gene since its spliced transcript encoding the structural glycoprotein gp82/105 was first detected 16 h after infection of untreated cells but could not be detected in cells treated with phosphonoacetate. HHV-6 variants differ in the transcription patterns of their genes. U16-U17 originates a splice transcript and is regulated as alpha in HHV-6B and as beta in HHV-6A. U91 generates two transcripts, amplified as 476- and 374-bp PCR fragments. The 476-bp fragment is alpha in HHV-6A-infected cells but beta in HHV-6B-infected cells. Conversely, the 374-bp fragment is beta in HHV-6A-infected cells and alpha in HHV-6B-infected cells. Furthermore, the spliced product of U18-U19-U20 (526 bp) is beta in HHV-6A-infected cells, but only a partially spliced form (1.9 kb) was detected at late stages of infection in HHV-6B. HHV-6 transcription was also studied in nonproductive lymphoid cells, and the same transcription pattern detected during lytic infection was observed. Also, HHV-6 variants maintain the differences in U91, U16-17, and U18-U19-U20. We conclude that, as expected from the sequencing data, gene expression is generally similar in HHV-6 variants. However, transcription of selected genes in HHV-6A and HHV-6B differs with respect to temporal regulation and splicing pattern. Furthermore, the identification of viral functions expressed during the different stages of lytic replication suggests that reverse transcription-PCR for HHV-6 genes is a useful diagnostic approach to differentiate between latent and productive HHV-6 infection.

PMID:
9557667
PMCID:
PMC109607
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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