Gamma interferon blocks gammaherpesvirus reactivation from latency

Ashley L. Steed, Erik S. Barton, Scott A. Tibbetts, Daniel L. Popkin, Mary L. Lutzke, Rosemary Rochford, Herbert W. Virgin IV

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


Establishment of latent infection and reactivation from latency are critical aspects of herpesvirus infection and pathogenesis. Interfering with either of these steps in the herpesvirus life cycle may offer a novel strategy for controlling herpesvirus infection and associated disease pathogenesis. Prior studies show that mice deficient in gamma interferon (IFN-γ) or the IFN-γ receptor have elevated numbers of cells reactivating from murine gammaherpesvirus 68 (γHV68) latency, produce infectious virus after the establishment of latency, and develop large-vessel vasculitis. Here, we demonstrate that IFN-γ is a powerful inhibitor of reactivation of γHV68 from latency in tissue culture. In vivo, IFN-γ controls viral gene expression during latency. Importantly, depletion of IFN-γ in latently infected mice results in an increased frequency of cells reactivating virus. This demonstrates that IFN-γ is important for immune surveillance that limits reactivation of γHV68 from latency.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)192-200
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of virology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2006


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