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Abstract

The difficulty of eliminating herpesvirus carriage makes host entry a key target for infection control. However, its viral requirements are poorly defined. Murid herpesvirus-4 (MuHV-4) can potentially provide insights into gammaherpesvirus host entry. Upper respiratory tract infection requires the MuHV-4 thymidine kinase (TK) and ribonucleotide reductase large subunit (RNR-L), suggesting a need for increased nucleotide production. However, both TK and RNR-L are likely to be multifunctional. We therefore tested further the importance of nucleotide production by disrupting the MuHV-4 ribonucleotide reductase small subunit (RNR-S). This caused a similar attenuation to RNR-L disruption: despite reduced intra-host spread, invasive inoculations still established infection, whereas a non-invasive upper respiratory tract inoculation did so only at high dose. Histological analysis showed that RNR-S, RNR-L and TK viruses all infected cells in the olfactory neuroepithelium but unlike wild-type virus then failed to spread. Thus captured host nucleotide metabolism enzymes, up to now defined mainly as important for alphaherpesvirus reactivation in neurons, also have a key role in gammaherpesvirus host entry. This seemed to reflect a requirement for lytic replication to occur in a terminally differentiated cell before a viable pool of latent genomes could be established.

  • This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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2011-07-01
2023-01-29
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