We previously generated an RCMV strain in which the r144 gene, encoding a major histocompatibility complex class I homolog, had been deleted (RCMVΔr144). To investigate the role of r144 during acute infection of neonatal rats, we infected three days-old neonatal rats with either RCMVΔr144 or wild type (wt) RCMV and the presence of infectious virus as well as viral DNA in various organs was determined at either 3, 5 or 21 days p.i.. In addition, we as-sessed both type and number of inflammatory cells in these organs. Interestingly, a significantly lower concentration of infectious virus as well as viral DNA was found in spleens of RCMVΔr144-infected rats than in those of wt RCMV-infected animals at 3 days p.i.. At the same time point, a significantly lower amount of infiltrating NK cells and monocytes/macrophages was seen in the spleens of RCMVΔr144-infected rats than in spleens of rats infected with wt RCMV. At 21 days p.i., RCMVΔr144-infected rats were found to have lower virus titers in the salivary glands than wt RCMV-infected animals. Significant differences between RCMVΔr144- and wt RCMV-infected rats were detected neither at other time points nor at other sites. We conclude that after infection of neonatal rats, the replication of RCMVΔr144 is severely restricted compared to wt RCMV.
Archives of Virology – Springer Journals
Published: Apr 1, 2002
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