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Discovery of herpesviruses in multi-infected primates using locked nucleic acids (LNA) and a bigenic PCR approach

Author(s): Prepens Sandra | Kreuzer Karl-Anton | Leendertz Fabian | Nitsche Andreas | Ehlers Bernhard

Journal: Virology Journal
ISSN 1743-422X

Volume: 4;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 84;
Date: 2007;
Original page

Abstract Targeting the highly conserved herpes DNA polymerase (DPOL) gene with PCR using panherpes degenerate primers is a powerful tool to universally detect unknown herpesviruses. However, vertebrate hosts are often infected with more than one herpesvirus in the same tissue, and pan-herpes DPOL PCR often favors the amplification of one viral sequence at the expense of the others. Here we present two different technical approaches that overcome this obstacle: (i) Pan-herpes DPOL PCR is carried out in the presence of an oligonucleotide substituted with locked nucleic acids (LNA).This suppresses the amplification of a specific herpesvirus DPOL sequence by a factor of approximately 1000, thereby enabling the amplification of a second, different DPOL sequence. (ii) The less conserved glycoprotein B (gB) gene is targeted with several sets of degenerate primers that are restricted to gB genes of different herpesvirus subfamilies or genera. These techniques enable the amplification of gB and DPOL sequences of multiple viruses from a single specimen. The partial gB and DPOL sequences can be connected by long-distance PCR, producing final contiguous sequences of approximately 3.5 kbp. Such sequences include parts of two genes and therefore allow for a robust phylogenetic analysis. To illustrate this principle, six novel herpesviruses of the genera Rhadinovirus, Lymphocryptovirus and Cytomegalovirus were discovered in multi-infected samples of non-human primates and phylogenetically characterized.
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