Phorbol ester-induced differentiation permits productive human cytomegalovirus infection in a monocytic cell line

B. G. Weinshenker, S. Wilton, G. P.A. Rice

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116 Scopus citations


The susceptibility of four different human cell lines (HUT 102, THP-1, MOLT-4, and HL-60) to infection by human CMV (HCMV) was studied. Only HUT 102 was susceptible and only immediate-early gene products were produced. However, THP-1, a monocytic cell line, could be infected by HCMV with a full cycle of replication after treatment with 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA), which produced differentiation of the cell line into cells with characteristics of mature macrophages. Late (structural) Ag were demonstrated, as were infectious virions as detected by electron microscopy and infectious center assay. HL-60, a promyelocytic cell line, was not susceptible to HCMV infection after treatment with TPA despite differentiation into adherent cells with properties of macrophages, suggesting that cellular lineage was important. Treatment with TPA after infection resulted in a greatly reduced frequency of infected cells, suggesting that pretreatment was essential. Furthermore, continued presence of TPA was unnecessary after differentiation was induced. This study establishes the precedent of productive HCMV infection in human monocytic cells. The potential mechanism and relevance of enhanced replication induced by TPA are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1625-1631
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jan 1 1988


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology

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