Cytomegaloviruses generally display a host range restricted to differentiated cell types from the species they infect. For human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) this has meant that with few exceptions tissue culture systems have relied on the use of primary foreskin fibroblast (HF) cells or primary human embryonic lung cells to study gene expression and virus replication functions. We have observed that primary skin fibroblast (CF) cells derived from the chimpanzee () support the replication of a laboratory strain (Towne) of HCMV. The kinetics of gene expression of the Towne strain grown in CF or HF cells appeared to be equivalent. Titres of progeny virions grown in CF cells appeared to be reduced 10-fold relative to those of virus grown in HF cells. In contrast, replication of the Towne virus was not supported by growth in WES cells (ATCC no. CRL 1609), a chimpanzee skin fibroblast cell line transformed by an adenovirus 12-simian virus 40 hybrid. This study shows that HCMV is less parochial in its host range than previously thought.


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