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In vivo selection of lymphocyte-tropic and macrophage-tropic variants of lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus during persistent infection.

By C C King, R de Fries, S R Kolhekar and R Ahmed


This study demonstrates cell-specific selection of viral variants during persistent lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus infection in its natural host. We have analyzed viral isolates obtained from CD4+ T cells and macrophages of congenitally infected carrier mice and found that three types of variants are present in individual carrier mice: (i) macrophage-tropic, (ii) lymphotropic, and (iii) amphotropic. The majority of the isolates were amphotropic and exhibited enhanced growth in both lymphocytes and macrophages. However, some of the lymphocyte-derived isolates grew well in lymphocytes but poorly in macrophages, and a macrophage-derived isolate replicated well in macrophages but not in lymphocytes. In striking contrast, the original wild-type (wt) Armstrong strain of lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus that was used to initiate the chronic infection and from which the variants are derived grew poorly in both lymphocytes and macrophages. These three types of variants also differed from the parental virus in their ability to establish a chronic infection in immunocompetent hosts. Adult mice infected with the wt Armstrong strain cleared the infection within 2 weeks, whereas adult mice infected with the variants harbored virus for several months. These results suggest that the ability of the variants to persist in adult mice is due to enhanced replication in macrophages and/or lymphocytes. This conclusion is further strengthened by the finding that the variants and the parental wt virus grew equally well in mouse fibroblasts and that the observed growth differences were specific for cells of the immune system

Topics: Research Article
Year: 1990
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Provided by: PubMed Central
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