We developed a set of rabbit antisera to characterize infections by the macaque RV2 rhadinovirus homologs of KSHV. We analyzed tissues from rhesus and pig-tailed macaques naturally infected with rhesus rhadinovirus (RRV) or Macaca nemestrina rhadinovirus 2 (MneRV2). Our study demonstrates that RV2 rhadinoviruses have a tropism for epithelial cells, lymphocytes and gonadal germ cells in vivo. We observed latent infections in both undifferentiated and differentiated epithelial cells with expression of the latency marker, LANA. Expression of the early (ORF59) and late (glycoprotein B) lytic markers were detected in highly differentiated cells in epithelial ducts in oral, renal, dermal and gastric mucosal tissue as well as differentiated germ cells in male and female gonads. Our data provides evidence that epithelial and germ cell differentiation in vivo induces rhadinovirus reactivation and suggests that infected epithelial and germ cells play a role in transmission and dissemination of RV2 rhadinovirus infections in vivo.
Keywords: Epithelial; Germ cell; Immunohistochemistry; KSHV; Lymphocyte; Macaque; MneRV2; RRV; Rhadinovirus.
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