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Human Cytomegalovirus Replication and Infection-Induced Syncytia Formation in Labial, Foreskin, and Fetal Lung Fibroblasts.

  • Author(s): Aguiar, Alexis;
  • Galinato, Melissa;
  • Bradley Silva, Maite';
  • Toth, Bryant;
  • McVoy, Michael A;
  • Hertel, Laura
  • et al.

Published Web Location

Only a handful of cell types, including fibroblasts, epithelial, and endothelial cells, can support human cytomegalovirus (CMV) replication in vitro, in striking contrast to the situation in vivo. While the susceptibility of epithelial and endothelial cells to CMV infection is strongly modulated by their anatomical site of origin, multiple CMV strains have been successfully isolated and propagated on fibroblasts derived from different organs. As oral mucosal cells are likely involved in CMV acquisition, we sought to evaluate the ability of infant labial fibroblasts to support CMV replication, compared to that of commonly used foreskin and fetal lung fibroblasts. No differences were found in the proportion of cells initiating infection, or in the amounts of viral progeny produced after exposure to the fibroblast-adapted CMV strain AD169 or to the endothelial cell-adapted strain TB40/E. Syncytia formation was, however, significantly enhanced in infected labial and lung fibroblasts compared to foreskin-derived cells, and did not occur after infection with AD169. Together, these data indicate that fibroblast populations derived from different tissues are uniformly permissive to CMV infection but retain phenotypic differences of potential importance for infection-induced cell-cell fusion, and ensuing viral spread and pathogenesis in different organs.

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