Distinct pathways of viral spread in the host determined by reovirus S1 gene segment

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Science  15 Aug 1986:
Vol. 233, Issue 4765, pp. 770-774
DOI: 10.1126/science.3016895


The genetic and molecular mechanisms that determine the capacity of a virus to utilize distinct pathways of spread in an infected host were examined by using reoviruses. Both reovirus type 1 and reovirus type 3 spread to the spinal cord following inoculation into the hindlimb or forelimb footpad of newborn mice. For type 3 this spread is through nerves and occurs via the microtubule-associated system of fast axonal transport. By contrast, type 1 spreads to the spinal cord through the bloodstream. With the use of reassortant viruses containing various combinations of double-stranded RNA segments (genes) derived from type 1 and type 3, the viral S1 double-stranded RNA segment was shown to be responsible for determining the capacity of reoviruses to spread to the central nervous system through these distinct pathways.