Trigeminal ganglia (TG) from mice latently infected with wild type HSV-1 contain detectable levels of cytokine transcripts that are not present in TG from uninfected mice. This suggests that during HSV-1 neuronal latency, the immune system is stimulated by the production of one or more viral proteins. Since the LAT (latency associated transcript) gene is essential for wild type levels of spontaneous reactivation and is the only highly active viral gene during latency, the stimulation of cytokines may indicate the presence of a LAT encoded latency protein. We therefore compared the cytokine transcript profiles in the TG of mice latently infected with wild type and LAT negative viruses. Mice were latently infected with either: (1) the LAT null mutant dLAT2903; (2) its marker rescued virus dLAT2903R; or (3) the parental wild type HSV-1 strain McKrae. As expected, reactivation following explant cultivation of TG from latently infected mice was significantly decreased with dLAT2903 (P<0.05)(40±8%, n=24) compared with dLAT2903R (85±7.6%, n=36) or the parental virus (70±10.0%, n=36). The relative levels of various cytokines was determined by RT-PCR analysis of TG extracts. None of the cytokine transcripts detected in mice latently infected with the wild type or marker rescued viruses were missing or decreased in mice latently infected with the LAT null mutant 30 or 60 days post infection. There were also no differences in the HSV-1 antibody titers induced by the LAT negative virus compared to the LAT positive viruses. Thus, although LAT facilitated reactivation of HSV-1 from explanted mouse TG, expression of LAT during latency did not appear to be involved in persistent cytokine expression in TG. This suggests that during latency, HSV-1 does not produce a highly antigenic abundant LAT encoded protein. Copyright (C) 1998 Elsevier Science B.V.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Infectious Diseases
- Cancer Research