Tropism illuminated: Lymphocyte-based pathways blazed by lethal morbillivirus through the host immune system

Veronika Von Messling, Dragana Milosevic, Roberto Cattaneo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

151 Scopus citations

Abstract

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 languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)14216-14221
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume101
Issue number39
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 28 2004

Keywords

  • Immunosuppression
  • Measles
  • Virus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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