Research on EHV-1 Effects on Regulation of Select Cell Surface Markers

Recent research made available from Elsevier’s Veterinary Microbiology and available online Dec. 23, 2014, discussed EHV-1 and equine mesenchymal stem cells. The paper is titled “Equid herpesvirus 1 (EHV1) infection of equine mesenchymal stem cells induces a pUL56-dependent downregulation of select cell surface markers.” It is available online from


“Equid herpesvirus-1 (EHV-1) is an ubiquitous alphaherpesvirus that can cause respiratory disease, abortion and central nervous disorders. EHV-1 is known to infect a variety of different cell types in vitro, but its tropism for cultured primary equine mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) has never been explored. We report that equine MSC were highly permissive for EHV-1 and supported lytic replication of the virus in vitro. Interestingly, we observed that an infection of MSC with EHV-1 resulted in a consistent downregulation of cell surface molecules CD29 (β1-integrin), CD105 (endoglin), major histocompatibility complex type I (MHCI) and a variable downregulation of CD172a. In contrast, expression of CD44 and CD90 remained unchanged upon wild type infection. In addition, we found that this selective EHV-1-mediated downregulation of cell surface proteins was dependent on the viral protein UL56 (pUL56). So far, pUL56-dependent downregulation during EHV-1 infection of equine cells has only been described for MHCI, but our present data indicate that pUL56 may have a broader function in downregulating cell surface proteins. Taken together, our results are the first to show that equine MSC are susceptible for EHV-1 and that pUL56 induces downregulation of several cell surface molecules on infected cells. These findings provide a basis for future studies to evaluate the mechanisms underlying for this selective pUL56-induced downregulation and to evaluate the potential role of MSC during EHV-1 pathogenesis.”


Christophe Claessena

Herman Favoreela

Guanggang Mab

Nikolaus Osterriederb

Catharina De Schauwerc

Sofie Piepersc,

Gerlinde R. Van de Wallea, d

a Department of Virology, Parasitology and Immunology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University, Merelbeke, Belgium

b Institut für Virologie, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany

c Department of Obstetrics, Reproduction and Herd Health, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University

d Baker Institute for Animal Health, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University

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