Purpose: Herpes simplex virus (HSV) keratitis is the most common cause of unilateral corneal blindness in the Western hemisphere. The virus spreads from initial sites of infection cell to cell often by fusing the adjacent cell membranes leading to characteristic polykarocytes or syncytia in the cellular culture. Depletion of desmosterol from these cells resulted in diminished HSV-1 entry, suggesting a general sterol requirement for HSV-1 entry and that desmosterol can operate in virus entry. The effects of the pUL12 Y371F mutation in cell cultures and mice were similar to those of a nuclease-dead double mutation in pUL12, although the Y371F mutation reduced viral replication severalfold more than the nuclease-dead double mutation in a cell type- and multiplicity-of-infection-dependent manner. Firstly, the use of homologous recombination between the virus genome and plasmids in mammalian cells is a reliable way to engineer HSV such that minimal genome changes are made. HSV1716 also demonstrated strong efficacy signals in subcutaneous HuH7 xenografts in nude mice after intravenous administration of virus. Viral replication, herpes simplex virus receptor expression, and apoptosis were evaluated.
Collectively, these data demonstrate that the compiled optimized qPCR assays is a scalable and cost-effective method to assess HSV-1 gene expression with broad application potential, including investigation of pathogenesis and antiviral therapies. Thank you to everyone who participated in this year’s symposium.