Tanapox virus (TPV) belongs to the genus Yatapoxvirus and causes a relatively benign zoonotic disease in man, with symptoms that resemble a mild version of human monkeypox. In order to investigate the underlying mechanisms of TPV pathogenesis, the tropism and replication characteristics of TPV were examined in a variety of primary human cells. A GFP expressing TPV (TPV-GFP) was constructed and used to infect primary human dermal fibroblasts (pHDFs) and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs), both of which are believed to be major in vivo targets of poxvirus infection. pHDFs fully supported productive replication and cell-cell spread of TPV-GFP. However, induction of cell cycle arrest in pHDFs by contact mediated inhibition or rapamycin treatment eliminated the ability of TPV to fully stimulate cell cycle progression and dramatically reduced viral replication. TPV-GFP-infected human PBMCs were screened for permissiveness by FACS analysis. CD14+ cells (monocytes) were the primary cellular target for TPV infection. A small proportion of CD3+ cells (T cells) were positive for GFP expression, yet TPV was not able to replicate and spread in cultured peripheral blood lymphocytes, regardless of their state of activation. Primary human monocytes, however, demonstrated robust TPV replication, yet these cells no longer supported replication of TPV once they differentiated into macrophages. This unique ex vivo tropism of TPV gives key insights into the basis for the self-limiting pathogenicity of TPV in man.
- Primary human cells
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