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Cytomegalovirus-related sequence in an atypical cytopathic virus repeatedly isolated from a patient with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

  [ 13 votes ]   [ Discuss This Article ] • August 3, 1994

An atypical virus, cytopathic for human and animal fibroblasts, was
repeatedly cultured from a patient with chronic fatigue
syndrome. Viral particles, suggestive of cytomegalovirus (CMV)
were seen by electron microscopy. Infected cells did not,
however, stain with antisera specific for CMV, herpes, simplex
virus, or human herpes-virus-6. Polymerase chain reaction
(PCR) assays for these viruses were also negative. Two
distinct products of approximately 1.5 kilobase pairs were
amplified from virally infected cells using the human T
lymphotropic virus-II tax gene reactive primer, SK44, in low
stringency PCR. Sequencing of one of the amplified products
showed a region of highly significant partial homology with
the UL34 gene of CMV. The sequence of the other PCR product
did not correspond with CMV or any other virus. DNA was
extracted from the material pelleted by ultracentrifugation of
filtered culture supernatants. It migrated in agarose gels as
a single band of approximately 20 kpb. The banded DNA was
digested with EcoRI and cloned. A 2.2 kbp plasmid containing
the CMV-related sequence identified within the PCR product was
recovered. Sequencing of this plasmid extended the region of
partial sequence homology with CMV to include a portion of the
UL35 gene of CMV. Initial sequencing of additional plasmids
has confirmed the partial relatedness to CMV. The data
indicate a novel type of CMV-related "stealth" virus that is
able to establish a clinically persistent human infection.

Martin WJ, Zeng LC, Ahmed K, Roy M

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