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RNA Sequencing of the In Vivo Human Herpesvirus 6B Transcriptome To Identify Targets for Clinical Assays Distinguishing between Latent and Active Infections.


ABSTRACT: Human herpesvirus 6B (HHV-6B) DNA is frequently detected in human samples. Diagnostic assays distinguishing HHV-6B reactivation from latency are limited. This has impaired strategies to diagnose and treat HHV-6B-associated diseases. We used RNA sequencing to characterize and compare the HHV-6B transcriptome in multiple sample types, including (i) whole blood from hematopoietic cell transplant (HCT) recipients with and without HHV-6B plasma viremia, (ii) tumor tissue samples from subjects with large B cell lymphoma infected with HHV-6B, (iii) lymphoblastoid cell lines (LCLs) from subjects with inherited chromosomally integrated HHV-6B or latent infection with HHV-6B, and (iv) HHV-6B Z29 infected SupT1 CD4+ T cells. We demonstrated substantial overlap in the HHV-6B transcriptome observed in in vivo and in vitro samples, although there was variability in the breadth and quantity of gene expression across samples. The HHV-6B viral polymerase gene U38 was the only HHV-6B transcript detected in all next-generation RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) data sets and was one of the most highly expressed genes. We developed a novel reverse transcription-PCR assay targeting HHV-6B U38, which identified U38 mRNA in all tested whole-blood samples from patients with concurrent HHV-6B viremia. No HHV-6B U38 transcripts were detected by RNA-seq or reverse transcription-real-time quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR) in whole-blood samples from subjects without HHV-6B plasma detection or from latently infected LCLs. A RT-qPCR assay for HHV-6B U38 may be useful to identify lytic HHV-6B infection in nonplasma samples and samples from individuals with inherited chromosomally integrated HHV-6B. This study also demonstrates the feasibility of transcriptomic analyses for HCT recipients.IMPORTANCE Human herpesvirus 6B (HHV-6B) is a DNA virus that infects most children within the first few years of life. After primary infection, HHV-6B persists as a chronic, latent infection in many cell types. Additionally, HHV-6B can integrate into germ line chromosomes, resulting in individuals with viral DNA in every nucleated cell. Given that PCR to detect viral DNA is the mainstay for diagnosing HHV-6B infection, the characteristics of HHV-6B infection complicate efforts to distinguish between latent and active viral infection, particularly in immunocompromised patients who have frequent HHV-6B reactivation. In this study, we used RNA sequencing to characterize the HHV-6B gene expression profile in multiple sample types, and our findings identified evidence-based targets for diagnostic tests that distinguish between latent and active viral infection.

SUBMITTER: Hill JA 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC6340040 | BioStudies | 2019-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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