Caister Academic Press

HSV-1 Latency and the Roles of the LATs

David C. Bloom
from: Alpha Herpesviruses: Molecular and Cellular Biology (Edited by: R. M. Sandri-Goldin). Caister Academic Press, U.K. (2006)


Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) latency is characterized by the persistence of viral genome as episomes in the nuclei of sensory neurons. During this period only one region of the genome is abundantly transcribed: the region encoding the latency-associated transcripts (LATs). The LAT domain is transcriptionally complex, and while the predominant species that accumulates during latency is a 2.0 kb stable intron, other RNA species are transcribed from this region of the genome, including a number of lytic or acute-phase transcripts. HSV-1 recombinant viruses with deletions within the LAT region exhibit reactivation deficits in a number of animal models, however there is evidence that some LAT deletion mutants also possess altered establishment and virulence properties. The phenotypic complexity associated with this region, including some evidence that the LATs may play a role in suppressing latent gene expression, suggests the that LAT locus may function as a regulator that modulates the transcription of key lytic and latent functions. The goal of this review is to provide an overview of our current understanding of the role(s) of the HSV-1 Latency Associated Transcripts (LATs) in the pathobiology of HSV-1 infections in vivo read more ...
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