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Combined knockdown of RL13 and UL128 for release of cell-free infectivity from recent HCMV isolates

Weiler, Nina, Sampaio, Kerstin Laib, Stanton, Richard James ORCID: and Sinzger, Christian 2022. Combined knockdown of RL13 and UL128 for release of cell-free infectivity from recent HCMV isolates. Journal of Virological Methods 305 , 114537. 10.1016/j.jviromet.2022.114537

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Due to strictly cell-associated growth, experiments requiring cell-free virus are not applicable to recent clinical HCMV isolates to date. On the other hand, adaptation to cell-free growth is associated with undesirable changes in the viral gene regions RL13 and UL128. We had previously found that siRNA-mediated reduction of UL128 expression allowed transient release of cell-free virus by clinical isolates, and now hypothesized that virus yield could be further increased by additional knockdown of RL13. Despite the extensive polymorphism of RL13, effective RL13-specific siRNAs could be designed for three recent isolates and the Merlin strain. Knockdown efficiency was demonstrated at the protein level with a Merlin variant expressing V5-tagged pRL13. Knockdown of RL13 alone did not result in measurable release of cell-free virus, but combined knockdown of RL13 and UL128 increased infectivity in cell-free supernatants by a factor of 10–2000 compared to knockdown of UL128 alone. These supernatants could be used in dose-response assays to compare the effect of a neutralizing antibody on the various HCMV isolates. In summary, combined knockdown of RL13 and UL128 by specific siRNAs allows reliable release of cell-free infectivity from otherwise strictly cell-associated HCMV isolates without the need to modify the viral genome.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Systems Immunity Research Institute (SIURI)
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0166-0934
Funders: MRC
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 16 May 2022
Date of Acceptance: 28 April 2022
Last Modified: 13 Nov 2023 21:10

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