Author(s): Quinlivan M, Breuer J, Quinlivan M, Breuer J
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Abstract VZV is a highly cell-associated member of the Herpesviridae family and one of the eight herpesviruses to infect humans. The virus is ubiquitous in most populations worldwide, primary infection with which causes varicella, more commonly known as chickenpox. Characteristic of members of the alphaherpesvirus sub-family, VZV is neurotropic and establishes latency in sensory neurones. Reactivation from latency, usually during periods of impaired cellular immunity, causes herpes zoster (shingles). Despite being one of the most genetically stable human herpesviruses, nucleotide alterations in the virus genome have been used to classify VZV strains from different geographical regions into distinct clades. Such studies have also provided evidence that, despite pre-existing immunity to VZV, subclinical reinfection and reactivation of reinfecting strains to cause zoster is also occurring. During both primary infection and reactivation, VZV infects several PBMC and skin cell lineages. Difficulties in studying the pathogenesis of VZV because of its high cell association and narrow host range have been overcome through the development of the VZV severe combined immunodeficient mouse model carrying human tissue implants. This model has provided a valuable tool for studying the importance of individual viral proteins during both the complex intracellular replication and assembly of new virions and for understanding the underlying mechanism of attenuation of the live varicella vaccine. In addition, a rat model has been developed and successfully used to uncover which viral proteins are important for both the establishment and maintenance of latent VZV infection.
This article was published in Rev Med Virol
and referenced in Journal of AIDS & Clinical Research