Infection of mice with the neurotropic JHM strain of murine hepatitis virus causes demyelinating lesions resulting from an infection of the oligodendroglia. This was most evident in mice inoculated intraperitoneally with JHM. Such CNS lesions were not observed in mice inoculated intraperitoneally with the MHV3 strain. An in vitro system is described in which the rat glial RN2 cell line functions as a discriminating host for the JHM virus. Shortly after inoculation, this virus establishes a persistent infection in which there is a cyclical rise and fall in titer with an accompanying cytopathology. Furthermore, this host cell confers a thermal lability which the virus does not demonstrate in the fully permissive host cell, L-2. By comparison, infection of RN2 cells with the prototype MHV3 is aborted immediately. In the persistent infection of RN2 cells with measles virus, Hallé strain, the cell again confers a temperature sensitivity which the virus does not possess when replicating in Vero cells. This appears to be the first instance in which a cloned cell line of glial origin determines the outcome of the infectious process, discriminating in favor of a neurotropic variant which possesses a tropism for the glia in vivo. Systems such as the one described here may now offer a specific screening procedure for selecting, identifying and characterizing the nature of neurotropic viruses.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)