LAT Region Factors Mediating Differential Neuronal Tropism of HSV-1 and HSV-2 Do Not Act in Trans
Bertke, Andrea S.
Margolis, Todd P.
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After HSV infection, some trigeminal ganglion neurons support productive cycle gene expression, while in other neurons the virus establishes a latent infection. We previously demonstrated that HSV-1 and HSV-2 preferentially establish latent infection in A5+ and KH10+ sensory neurons, respectively, and that exchanging the latency-associated transcript (LAT) between HSV-1 and HSV-2 also exchanges the neuronal preference. Since many viral genes besides the LAT are functionally interchangeable between HSV-1 and HSV-2, we co-infected HSV-1 and HSV-2, both in vivo and in vitro, to determine if trans-acting viral factors regulate whether HSV infection follows a productive or latent pattern of gene expression in sensory neurons. The pattern of HSV-1 and HSV-2 latent infection in trigeminal neurons was no different following co-infection than with either virus alone, consistent with the hypothesis that a trans-acting viral factor is not responsible for the different patterns of latent infection of HSV-1 and HSV-2 in A5+ and KH10+ neurons. Since exchanging the LAT regions between the viruses also exchanges neuronal preferences, we infected transgenic mice that constitutively express 2.8 kb of the LAT region with the heterologous viral serotype. Endogenous expression of LAT did not alter the pattern of latent infection after inoculation with the heterologous serotype virus, demonstrating that the LAT region does not act in trans to direct preferential establishment of latency of HSV-1 and HSV-2. Using HSV1-RFP and HSV2-GFP in adult trigeminal ganglion neurons in vitro, we determined that HSV-1 and HSV-2 do not exert trans-acting effects during acute infection to regulate neuron specificity. Although some neurons were productively infected with both HSV-1 and HSV-2, no A5+ or KH10+ neurons were productively infected with both viruses. Thus, trans-acting viral factors do not regulate preferential permissiveness of A5+ and KH10+ neurons for productive HSV infection and preferential establishment of latent infection.