Characterisation of differential gene expression throughout the life cycle of murine gammaherpesvirus-68
Gammaherpesviruses are associated with a number of diseases including lymphomas and other malignancies. Murine gammaherpesvirus 68 (MHV-68) constitutes the most amenable animal model for this family of pathogens. However experimental characterisation of gammaherpesvirus gene expression, at either the protein or RNA level, lags behind that of other, better-studied alpha and beta herpesviruses. A differential display system and 2 independent array systems have been developed, with the aim of characterising MHV-68 gene expression profiles and providing experimental supplement to a genome that is chiefly annotated by homology. Furthermore, the 3 technologies are compared in terms of their strengths and weaknesses, with respect to these goals. The MHV-68 transcriptome is presented through a lytic infection in vitro, both as quantitative measures of transcript abundance, and as part of a hierarchical cluster analysis. Functional predictions have been made for various genes based on co-expression with better characterised genes. Each gene has also been categorised as being expressed with kinetics by blocking de novo protein synthesis and viral DNA replication. This fundamental characterisation furthers the development of this model and provides an experimental basis for continued investigation of gammaherpesvirus pathology.