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Persistence of herpes simplex virus type 1 in rat neurotumor cells.

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  • Research Article
  • Biology
  • Medicine


Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) infection of a rat central nervous system tumor cell line led to almost complete destruction of the cells. Cells that survived the infection could be isolated and shown to produce infectious HSV particles for variable lengths of time in culture ranging from 20 to 57 passages. Even though infectious virus production eventually ceased, the cell lines continued to produce herpes-specified proteins as measured by immunological techniques. These cells also showed herpesvirus-like structures in the electron microscope. The persistently infected cells that produced HSV antigens and bore HSV sequences were resistant to superinfection by HSV-1. The resistance was not due to failure of adsorption of the virus or to the production of interferon by the cells. The nature of the block in HSV replication in these neurotumor cells, which contain and partially express the HSV genome, is unknown, but may offer an interesting parallel to the known latency of HSV in neural tissues.

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