Introduction. During the past two decades there has been a great increase in our knowledge of the mechanisms of virus multiplication in cultured cells. The cells utilized, however, have usually been undifferentiated standard cell lines, and little attention has been given to the interactions of viruses with differentiated cells, either in tissue culture or in the intact animal. Until recently, studies of viral pathogenicity have tended to be largely descriptive but a start has now been made in the analysis of the genetic and molecular control of virus pathogenicity for a number of model systems. Here we focus on one such system, Semliki Forest virus (SFV) infection of the laboratory mouse. This system has the initial advantages that the molecular biology of SFV and the closely related Sindbis virus has been extensively studied using standard tissue culture cell lines, that SFV is neurotropic, that strains of extremes of virulence for mice are available, and that inbred and immune-deficient mouse strains can be utilized.

Keyword(s): mouse model , pathogenicity and SFV

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