Identification and sequencing of a novel rodent gammaherpesvirus that establishes acute and latent infection in laboratory mice

Joy Loh, Guoyan Zhao, Christopher A. Nelson, Penny Coder, Lindsay Droit, Scott A. Handley, L. Steven Johnson, Punit Vachharajani, Hilda Guzman, Robert B. Tesh, David Wang, Daved H. Fremont, Herbert W. Virgin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Gammaherpesviruses encode numerous immunomodulatory molecules that contribute to their ability to evade the host immune response and establish persistent, lifelong infections. As the human gammaherpesviruses are strictly species specific, small animal models of gammaherpesvirus infection, such as murine gammaherpesvirus 68 (γHV68) infection, are important for studying the roles of gammaherpesvirus immune evasion genes in in vivo infection and pathogenesis. We report here the genome sequence and characterization of a novel rodent gammaherpesvirus, designated rodent herpesvirus Peru (RHVP), that shares conserved genes and genome organization with γHV68 and the primate gammaherpesviruses but is phylogenetically distinct from γHV68. RHVP establishes acute and latent infection in laboratory mice. Additionally, RHVP contains multiple open reading frames (ORFs) not present in γHV68 that have sequence similarity to primate gammaherpesvirus immunomodulatory genes or cellular genes. These include ORFs with similarity to major histocompatibility complex class I (MHC-I), C-type lectins, and the mouse mammary tumor virus and herpesvirus saimiri superantigens. As these ORFs may function as immunomodulatory or virulence factors, RHVP presents new opportunities for the study of mechanisms of immune evasion by gammaherpesviruses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2642-2656
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of virology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 2011
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Insect Science
  • Virology


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