The immunosuppressive properties of morbilliviruses including measles and canine distemper virus (CDV) are well known, but the host cells supporting infection are poorly characterized. To identify these cells, a recombinant CDV expressing green fluorescent protein was produced by reverse genetics based on a wild-type strain lethal for ferrets. This recombinant virus fully retained virulence and blazed three lymphocyte-based pathways through the immune system of its host: first, it infected rapidly and massively circulating B and T cells; second, it took over and damaged secondary lymphatic organs including spleen, lymph nodes, and gut-associated and mucosal lymphoid tissues; third, it infected most thymocytes. In contrast, replication in epithelial cells was initially not detectable, but substantial before host death. Thus, CDV initially infects lymphocytes and massively replicates therein, thereby causing immunosuppression and preparing systemic invasion and host escape.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|State||Published - Sep 28 2004|
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