The Gamma-2-Herpesvirus Bovine Herpesvirus 4 Causes Apoptotic Infection in Permissive Cell Lines
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Increasing evidence suggests that regulation of apoptosis in infected cells is associated with several viral infections. The gammaherpesvirus bovine herpesvirus 4 (BHV-4) has been shown to harbor genes with antiapoptotic potentialities. However, here we have demonstrated that productive infection of adherent, permissive cell lines by BHV-4 resulted in a cytopathic effect characterized by induction of apoptosis. This phenomenon was confirmed using different techniques to detect apoptosis and using different virus strains and cell targets. Apoptosis induced by BHV-4 was inhibited by (1) treatment with doses of heparin, which completely inhibited virus attachment and infectivity; (2) UV treatment, which completely abrogated infectivity; and (3) treatment with a dose of phosphonoacetic acid, which blocked virus replication. Virus-induced apoptosis was associated with a down-regulation of Bcl-2 expression and was reduced by Z-VAD-FMK, but not by Z-DEVD-FMK (caspase-3-specific) caspase inhibitors. Inhibition of apoptosis by Z-VAD-FMK treatment during infection did not modify virus yield. Therefore, despite the presence of antiapoptotic genes in its genoma, BHV-4 could complete its cycle of productive infection while inducing apoptosis of infected cells. This finding might have implications for the pathobiology of BHV-4 and other gammaherpesviruses in vivo.