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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Varicella-zoster virus infection of human foreskin fibroblast cells results in atypical cyclin expression and cyclin-dependent kinase activity.

In its course of human infection, varicella-zoster virus (VZV) infects rarely dividing cells such as dermal fibroblasts, differentiated keratinocytes, mature T cells, and neurons, none of which are actively synthesizing DNA; however, VZV is able to productively infect them and use their machinery to replicate the viral genome. We hypothesized that VZV alters the intracellular environment to favor viral replication by dysregulating cell cycle proteins and kinases. Cyclin-dependent kinases (CDKs) and cyclins displayed a highly unusual profile in VZV-infected confluent fibroblasts: total amounts of CDK1, CDK2, cyclin B1, cyclin D3, and cyclin A protein increased, and kinase activities of CDK2, CDK4, and cyclin B1 were strongly and simultaneously induced. Cyclins B1 and D3 increased as early as 24 h after infection, concurrent with VZV protein synthesis. Confocal microscopy indicated that cyclin D3 overexpression was limited to areas of IE62 production, whereas cyclin B1 expression was irregular across the VZV plaque. Downstream substrates of CDKs, including pRb, p107, and GM130, did not show phosphorylation by immunoblotting, and p21 and p27 protein levels were increased following infection. Finally, although the complement of cyclin expression and high CDK activity indicated a progression through the S and G(2) phases of the cell cycle, DNA staining and flow cytometry indicated a possible G(1)/S blockade in infected cells. These data support earlier studies showing that pharmacological CDK inhibitors can inhibit VZV replication in cultured cells.[1]


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