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Restrictions that control herpes simplex virus type 1 infection in mouse brain ex vivo

Restrictions that control herpes simplex virus type 1 infection in mouse brain ex vivo

Journal of General Virology 92(Part 10): 2383-2393

ISSN/ISBN: 0022-1317

PMID: 21697348

DOI: 10.1099/vir.0.031013-0

Elucidating the cellular and molecular factors governing herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) neurotropism is a prerequisite for understanding HSV-1 encephalitis and for targeting HSV-1-derived vectors for gene transfer to the brain. Earlier we had described an ex vivo system of mouse brain slices and demonstrated a selective and unique infection pattern, mostly around the ventricles. Here, we examined tissue factors controlling HSV-1 infection of brain slices. We demonstrated that heparan sulphate, while an important factor, does not determine the infection pattern. Hyaluronic acid, but not collagen, appears to enhance HSV-1 brain infection. To investigate whether tissue distribution of viral receptors determines the infection pattern, we examined transcription of herpes virus entry mediator and nectin-1 receptor genes in infected and uninfected brain regions. Both the infected and the uninfected regions express the receptors. We also explored the influence of intra-cellular factors. HSV-1 does not preferentially infect proliferating cells in the brain slices, despite its predilection to the ventricular zones. To delineate the step at which the HSV-1 infection cascade is restricted, mRNA was isolated following tissue infection, and transcription of the immediate-early and late viral genes was evaluated. The results indicated that HSV-1 genes are not expressed in regions that do not express a viral reporter gene. Therefore, we conclude that tissue resistance to infection is associated with a block at or prior to the immediate-early mRNA synthesis. Taken together, using the ex vivo system of organotypic culture we describe here extra-cellular and intra-cellular restriction levels of HSV-1 brain infection.

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