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    Both wild type (WT) and vaccine rubella virus (RV) can pass through the placenta to infect a human fetus, but only wtRV routinely causes pathology. To investigate possible reasons for this, we compared establishment of persistence of wtRV and RA27/3 vaccine strains in fetal endothelial cells. We showed that yields of RA27/3 and wtRV were similar after the first round of replication, but then only vaccine-infected cultures went through a crisis characterized by partial cell loss and gradual decline of virus titer followed by recovery and establishment of persistent cultures with low levels of RA27/3 secretion. We compared various steps of virus replication, but we were unable to identify changes, which might explain the 2-log difference in RA27/3 and wtRV yields in persistently infected cultures. Whole genome sequencing did not reveal selection of virus variants in either the wtRV or RA27/3 cultures. Quantitative single-cell analysis of RV replication by in situ hybridization detected, on average, 1-4 copies of negative-strand RNA and ~50 copies of positive-strand genomic RNA in cells infected with both vaccine and WT viruses. The distinct characteristics of RA27/3 replication were the presence of large amounts of negative-strand RV RNA and RV dsRNA at the beginning of the crisis and the accumulation of high amounts of genomic RNA in a subpopulation of infected cells during crisis and persistence. These results suggest that RA27/3 can persist in fetal endothelial cells, but the characteristics of persistence and mechanisms for the establishment and maintenance of persistence are different from wtRV.


    Ludmila Perelygina, Adebola Adebayo, Maureen Metcalfe, Joseph Icenogle. Differences in Establishment of Persistence of Vaccine and Wild Type Rubella Viruses in Fetal Endothelial Cells. PloS one. 2015;10(7):e0133267

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    PMID: 26177032

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