Recently, the research group led by Prof. Luo, Min-Huain Wuhan Institute of Virology, CAS has achieved significant progress on establishing and characterizing the first nerve cell model for Human Cytomegalovirus (HCMV) latent infection, namely, HCMV latently infected T98G glioblastoma cell model. Relevant research results have been published in the Journal of Virology (JV) as the spotlight article.
HCMV, a member of the beta-herpesvirinae subfamily in Herpesviridae, infects 50% to 90% of the population worldwide. After the primary infection, HCMV establishes a latent infectionin the host that lasts for life, which could be reactivated under immunocompromised condition, such as AIDS patients and solid-organ and cell transplant recipients. Primary infections and reactivation of latent virus can both result in congenital infection, a leading cause of birth defects, mostly in central nervous system. Although a few latency models have been utilized, a suitable nerve cell model for HCMV latent infection study was not available.
Based on their previous published data, Duan Yingliang et al in Prof. Luo’s group have further characterized HCMV infection in T98G, and emphasized the presence of high amount HCMV DNA in the infected T98G over an extended time frame. Compared to the HCMV latency model THP-1 (monocyte), T98G latency model maintains higher copy number of viral genome for longer period, and expresses more latency associated genes (US28, UL138, vIL-10 and LUNA). Importantly, different from the other models such as CD34+ progenitor cell or THP-1, HCMV latent infection in T98G represents the nerve cell model, which provides an important model to study HCMV latent infection mechanism in nervous system. In addition, the T98G latency model will also contribute in revealing the correlation between HCMV infection and Glioblastoma, and the diagnostics / treatment of congenitally HCMV infection. This research has been supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) and 973 Project.