Cyclophilin A is required for efficient human cytomegalovirus DNA replication and reactivation

J Gen Virol. 2012 Apr;93(Pt 4):722-732. doi: 10.1099/vir.0.037309-0. Epub 2012 Jan 13.


Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is a large DNA virus belonging to the subfamily Betaherpesvirinae. Haematopoietic cells of the myeloid lineage have been shown to harbour latent HCMV. However, following terminal differentiation of these cells, virus is reactivated, and in an immunocompromised host acute infection can occur. It is currently unknown which viral and cellular factors are involved in regulating the switch between lytic and latent infections. Cyclophilin A (CyPA) is a cellular protein that acts as a major factor in virus replication and/or virion maturation for a number of different viruses, including human immunodeficiency virus, hepatitis C virus, murine cytomegalovirus, influenza A virus and vaccinia virus. This study investigated the role of CyPA during HCMV infection. CyPA expression was silenced in human foreskin fibroblast (HF) and THP-1 cells using small interfering RNA (siRNA) technology, or the cells were treated with cyclosporin A (CsA) to inhibit CyPA activity. Silencing CyPA in HF cells with siRNA resulted in an overall reduction in virus production characterized by delayed expression of immediate-early (IE) proteins, decreased viral DNA loads and reduced titres. Furthermore, silencing of CyPA in THP-1 cells pre- and post-differentiation prevented IE protein expression and virus reactivation from a non-productive state. Interestingly, it was observed that treatment of THP-1 cells with CsA prevented the cells from establishing a fully latent infection. In summary, these results demonstrate that CyPA expression is an important factor in HCMV IE protein expression and virus production in lytically infected HF cells, and is a major component in virus reactivation from infected THP-1 cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Blotting, Western
  • Cyclophilin A / physiology*
  • Cytomegalovirus / physiology*
  • Cytomegalovirus Infections / metabolism
  • Cytomegalovirus Infections / virology*
  • DNA Replication / physiology
  • DNA, Viral / metabolism
  • Fibroblasts / virology
  • Gene Silencing
  • Genes, Viral / physiology
  • Humans
  • Immediate-Early Proteins / metabolism
  • Immediate-Early Proteins / physiology
  • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Virus Activation / physiology*
  • Virus Replication / physiology*


  • DNA, Viral
  • IE1 protein, cytomegalovirus
  • Immediate-Early Proteins
  • Cyclophilin A