Comparative study of Murid gammaherpesvirus 4 infection in mice and in its natural host, the bank voles.
François, Sylvie ; Vidick, Sarah ; et al
Poster (2009, December 11)
Gammaherpesviruses are the archetypes of persistent viruses that have been identified in a range of animals from mice to man. They are host-range specific and establish persistent, productive infections ... [more ▼]
Gammaherpesviruses are the archetypes of persistent viruses that have been identified in a range of animals from mice to man. They are host-range specific and establish persistent, productive infections of immunocompetent hosts. Thus, infected individuals simultaneously both elicit antiviral protective immune response and secrete infectious virions. The best studied gammaherpesviruses are Human herpesvirus 4 and Human herpesvirus 8. As these viruses have no well-established in vivo infection model, related animal gammaherpesviruses are an important source of information. We are studying Murid herpesvirus 4 (MuHV-4), a virus that has originally been isolated from bank voles (Myodes glareolus). Although MuHV-4 has not been isolated from house mice (Mus musculus), infection of inbred laboratory mouse strains is commonly accepted as a good model for studying gammaherpesviruses in vivo. It has however never been possible to monitor viral reexcretion and virus transmission in this species suggesting that this model could be imperfect. In this study, we therefore characterized MuHV-4 infection in its natural host, the bank voles, through classical virological methods but also through global luciferase imaging for an anatomical complete view of the infection. Results obtained show that, after intra-nasal infection, the natural route of infection is similar in mice and voles. Following nasal productive infection, the virus spreads to the lung where the infection is accompanied by massive cellular infiltrates. By opposition to extensive viral replication observed in mice, the different analyses indicated that the viral replication was ~1000 fold lower in bank voles. This lower replication did however not affect colonization of latency sites in superficial cervical lymph nodes and spleen as measured by real-time PCR quantification of viral genomes in these organs. In conclusion, this study revealed that MuHV-4 can experimentally infect bank voles, the supposed natural host, but with a lower replicative power. As, gammaherpesvirus epidemiology indicates that transmission correlates with the latent load, our results suggest that gammaherpesviruses may have evolved to infect their hosts without extensive lytic spread. In the future, establishment of experimental transmission in a population of Myodes glareolus should help us to better understand mechanisms used by gammaherpesviruses to evade immune response. [less ▲]Detailed reference viewed: 12 (5 ULg)