Identification of the in vivo role of a viral bcl-2

Shivaprakash Gangappa, Linda F. Van Dyk, Travis J. Jewett, Samuel H. Speck, Herbert W. Virgin IV

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

111 Scopus citations


Many γ-herpesviruses encode candidate oncogenes including homologues of host bcl-2 and cyclin proteins (v-bcl-2, v-cyclin), but the physiologic roles of these genes during infection are not known. We show for the first time in any virus system the physiologic role of v-bcl-2. A γ-herpesvirus v-bcl-2 was essential for efficient ex vivo reactivation from latent infection, and for both persistent replication and virulence during chronic infection of immunocompromised (interferon [IFN]-γ-/-) mice. The v-cyclin was also critical for the same stages in pathogenesis. Strikingly, while the v-bcl-2 and v-cyclin were important for chronic infection, these genes were not essential for viral replication in cell culture, viral replication during acute infection in vivo, establishment of latent infection, or virulence during acute infection. We conclude that v-bcl-2 and v-cyclin have important roles during latent and persistent γ-herpesvirus infection and that herpesviruses encode genes with specific roles during chronic infection and disease, but not acute infection and disease. As γ-herpesviruses primarily cause human disease during chronic infection, these chronic disease genes may be important targets for therapeutic intervention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)931-940
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Experimental Medicine
Issue number7
StatePublished - Apr 1 2002


  • Chronic infection
  • Persistent replication
  • Reactivation
  • Viral genes
  • Viral latency


Dive into the research topics of 'Identification of the in vivo role of a viral bcl-2'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this