Induction of PERV antigen in porcine peripheral blood mononuclear cells by human herpesvirus 1

Jiyeon Kim, Jung Heon Kim, Eung Soo Hwang

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1 Scopus citations


Background Xenotransplantation represents one of alternative candidates for allotransplantation due to the chronic shortage of suitable human tissues; however, many obstacles remain. Expression and release of endogenous retroviral antigens by porcine cells after transplantation may evoke adverse immune responses in human subjects. Here, we examined whether human herpesvirus 1 (HHV-1) could induce the production of porcine endogenous retrovirus (PERV) antigens in porcine peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs). Methods Porcine PBMCs were infected with HHV-1 and examined for the production of PERV Gag protein and HHV-1 using antigen-capture ELISA and quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR), respectively. Results HHV-1 infection resulted in a 1.7-to 33.2-fold induction of PERV Gag relative to mock infection controls, compared to a 2.9-to 12.9-fold induction following treatment with PMA. Expression of PERV Gag was detected in porcine PBMCs and PK-15 cells after HHV-1 infection by double immunofluorescence staining of PERV Gag and HHV-1 antigen. The viability of HHV-1-infected porcine PBMCs was significantly lower than that of mock-infected cells. The HHV-1 level in the culture supernatant increased 5.2-fold relative to controls 24-h post-infection, indicative of active replication within these cells; decreased levels of HHV-1 were detected 72-h post-infection. Conclusions These results suggest that HHV-1 may be capable of infecting transplanted porcine cells, resulting in strong direct induction of PERV antigen.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)144-150
Number of pages7
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2015


  • Gag
  • human herpesvirus
  • porcine cells
  • porcine endogenous retrovirus
  • xenotransplantation


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