Lucin, Pero; Jonjic, Stipan; Messerle, Martin; Polic, Bojan; Hengel, Hartmut; Koszinowski, Ulrich H.
Late phase inhibition of murine cytomegalovirus replication by synergistic action of interferon-gamma and tumour necrosis factor.
In: Journal of General Virology, Vol. 75: pp. 101-110
We have shown previously that the antiviral function of CD4+ T lymphocytes against murine cytomegalovirus (MCMV) is associated with the release of interferon- (IFN-). We now demonstrate that IFN- and tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNF-) display synergism in their antiviral activity. As little as 2 ng/ml of IFN- and TNF- reduced the virus yield by about three orders of magnitude. There was no effect on immediate early (IE) and early (E) gene expression as far as the candidate genes IE1, E1 and those encoding the major DNA-binding protein and the DNA polymerase were concerned. Late gene transcription, assayed by the candidate genes encoding glycoprotein B and the MCMV homologue of ICP 18.5, was blocked and MCMV DNA replication was found to be reduced but not halted. The most prominent finding of the cytokine effect, seen by electron microscopy, was an alteration of nucleocapsid formation. Altogether, the synergism is multifaceted and acts at more than one stage during viral morphogenesis. Because the cytokines clearly do not act at an early stage of infection we conclude that the mode of cytokine activity differs between alpha- and betaherpesviruses.