Variable gene expression in human ganglia latently infected with varicella-zoster virus

Kennedy, P. G.E. and Montague, P. (2022) Variable gene expression in human ganglia latently infected with varicella-zoster virus. Viruses, 14(6), 1250. (doi: 10.3390/v14061250)

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Varicella-Zoster virus (VZV) is a pathogenic human herpes virus that causes varicella (“chicken pox”) as a primary infection, following which it becomes latent in neuronal cells in human peripheral ganglia. It may then reactivate to cause herpes zoster (“shingles”). Defining the pattern of VZV gene expression during latency is an important issue, and four highly expressed VZV genes were first identified by Randall Cohrs in 1996 using cDNA libraries. Further studies from both his and other laboratories, including our own, have suggested that viral gene expression may be more widespread than previously thought, but a confounding factor has always been the possibility of viral reactivation after death in tissues obtained even at 24 h post-mortem. Recent important studies, which Randall Cohrs contributed to, have clarified this issue by studying human trigeminal ganglia at 6 h after death using RNA-Seq methodology when a novel spliced latency-associated VZV transcript (VLT) was found to be mapped antisense to the viral transactivator gene 61. Viral gene expression could be induced by a VLT-ORF 63 fusion transcript when VZV reactivated from latency. Prior detection by several groups of ORF63 in post-mortem-acquired TG is very likely to reflect detection of the VLT-ORF63 fusion and not canonical ORF63. The contributions to the VZV latency field by Randall Cohrs have been numerous and highly significant.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Montague, Dr Paul and Kennedy, Professor Peter
Authors: Kennedy, P. G.E., and Montague, P.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Infection & Immunity
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Psychology & Neuroscience
Journal Name:Viruses
ISSN (Online):1999-4915
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2022 by the authors
First Published:First published in Viruses 14(6):1250
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons Licence

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