Mice inoculated intracerebrally (i.c.) with a mutant strain of HSV were found to develop cataracts 1 to 2 months after inoculation. Cataract formation was subsequently shown to follow an acute retinitis which commenced within 1 week of inoculation. The mutant had been selected for high resistance to the nucleoside analogue acyclovir and has been shown previously to be defective in the induction of thymidine kinase and also to express an altered DNA polymerase. The LD for mice inoculated i.c. was > 10 p.f.u. compared with approx. 7 p.f.u. for the parental strain. Studies of virus replication following i.c. inoculation with a sublethal dose of the mutant revealed that only small amounts of infectious virus were produced in the brain, but during a period from 6 to 12 days after inoculation vigorous replication occurred in retinal tissue, producing very high titres of virus.


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