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Journal of Virology


Geisel School of Medicine


Herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) establishes lifelong latent infections in the sensory neurons of the trigeminal ganglia (TG), wherein it retains the capacity to reactivate. The interferon (IFN)-driven antiviral response is critical for the control of HSV-1 acute replication. We therefore sought to further investigate this response in TG neurons cultured from adult mice deficient in a variety of IFN signaling components. Parallel experiments were also performed in fibroblasts isolated concurrently. We showed that HSV-1 replication was comparable in wild-type (WT) and IFN signaling-deficient neurons and fibroblasts. Unexpectedly, a similar pattern was observed for the IFN-sensitive vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV). Despite these findings, TG neurons responded to IFN-β pretreatment with STAT1 nuclear localization and restricted replication of both VSV and an HSV-1 strain deficient in γ34.5, while wild-type HSV-1 replication was unaffected. This was in contrast to fibroblasts in which all viruses were restricted by the addition of IFN-β. Taken together, these data show that adult TG neurons can mount an effective antiviral response only if provided with an exogenous source of IFN-β, and HSV-1 combats this response through γ34.5. These results further our understanding of the antiviral response of neurons and highlight the importance of paracrine IFN-β signaling in establishing an antiviral state.