Characterization of an Epstein-Barr virus-related gammaherpesvirus from common marmoset (Callithrix jacchus).

Abstract:

A gammaherpesvirus related to Epstein-Barr virus (EBV; Human herpesvirus 4) infects otherwise healthy common marmosets (Callithrix jacchus). Long-term culture of common marmoset peripheral blood lymphocytes resulted in outgrowth of spontaneously immortalized lymphoblastoid cell lines, primarily of B cell lineage. Electron microscopy of cells and supernatants showed herpesvirus particles. There were high rates of serological cross-reactivity to other herpesviruses (68-86%), but with very low geometric mean antibody titres [1:12 to human herpesvirus 6 and 1:14 to Herpesvirus papio (Cercopithecine herpesvirus 12)]. Sequence analysis of the conserved herpesvirus DNA polymerase gene showed that the virus is a member of the lymphocryptovirus subgroup and is most closely related to a lymphocryptovirus from rhesus macaques and is closely related to EBV and Herpesvirus papio. High seroprevalence (79%, with geometric mean antibody titre of 1:110) among 28 common marmosets from two geographically distinct colonies indicated that the virus is likely present in many common marmosets in captivity. A New World primate harbouring a lymphocryptovirus suggests that this subgroup arose much earlier than previously thought.

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