In vitro system using human neurons demonstrates that varicella-zoster vaccine virus is impaired for reactivation, but not latency

Tomohiko Sadaoka, Daniel P. Depledge, Labchan Rajbhandari, Arun Venkatesan, Judith Breuer, Jeffrey I. Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Varicella-zoster virus (VZV) establishes latency in human sensory and cranial nerve ganglia during primary infection (varicella), and the virus can reactivate and cause zoster after primary infection. The mechanism of how the virus establishes and maintains latency and how it reactivates is poorly understood, largely due to the lack of robust models. We found that axonal infection of neurons derived from hESCs in a microfluidic device with cell-free parental Oka (POka) VZV resulted in latent infection with inability to detect several viral mRNAs by reverse transcriptase-quantitative PCR, no production of infectious virus, and maintenance of the viral DNA genome in endless configuration, consistent with an episome configuration. With deep sequencing, however, multiple viral mRNAs were detected. Treatment of the latently infected neurons with Ab to NGF resulted in production of infectious virus in about 25% of the latently infected cultures. Axonal infection of neurons with vaccine Oka (VOka) VZV resulted in a latent infection similar to infection with POka; however, in contrast to POka, VOka-infected neurons were markedly impaired for reactivation after treatment with Ab to NGF. In addition, viral transcription was markedly reduced in neurons latently infected with VOka compared with POka. Our in vitro system recapitulates both VZV latency and reactivation in vivo and may be used to study viral vaccines for their ability to establish latency and reactivate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E2403-E2412
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume113
Issue number17
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 26 2016

Keywords

  • Herpesvirus
  • Latency
  • Reactivation
  • Varicella vaccine
  • Varicella-zoster virus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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