Infection with cytomegalovirus (CMV) is persistent, even in the normal host. Periodic viral reactivation may have serious consequences, particularly if the infected individual is immunosuppressed, or pregnant. A number of CMV genes appear to contribute to the phenomena of evasion of host immune clearance, including homologs of cellular immune effector proteins, such as chemokines (CKs), chemokine receptor-like G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), and MHC class I molecules. To examine whether the guinea pig cytomegalovirus (GPCMV) encodes homologs of these cellular immunoregulatory genes, regions of the viral genome were sequenced and analyzed for the presence of conserved and novel open reading frames (ORFs) with potential homology to GPCR and CK proteins. A region in the Hind III 'D' region of the genome was identified which had strong identity to multiple β (CC) chemokines, particularly members of the macrophage inflammatory protein 1 (MIP-1) family. Northern blot analysis indicated that this region of the genome was transcriptionally active, encoding a transcript of 1.7 kbp, which was synthesized with 'late' gene kinetics. This is the first identification of a CK gene encoded by GPCMV, and adds to the growing list of putative CMV immunomodulatory genes which appear to have been transduced from the host genome during the co-evolution of host and pathogen.
- Cytomegalovirus (CMV)
- Guinea pig