The role of pseudorabies virus (PRV) thymidine kinase (TK) expression in the pathogenesis of PRV infection of mice was studied with TK-negative (TK) mutants. Thymidine phosphorylation and arabinosylthymine inhibition of PRV replication and efficiency of plating were used to characterize TK and TK PRV. In addition, a plaque autoradiography procedure was utilized to determine the TK phenotype of individual plaques. TK and TK PRV replicated well in ocular tissues, while TK but not TK did so in ganglion tissue. Mortality was absent after TK PRV inoculation and widespread after inoculation of similar amounts of TK PRV. Latent infection in mice was not detected with either TK or TK PRV. This study indicated the probable importance of PRV TK expression in acute trigeminal ganglion infection.


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