Vaccine-type mutations identified in Varicella zoster virus passaged in cell culture

Seok Cheon Kim, Youn Hee Won, Ji Seon Park, Jeong Seon Jeon, Jin Hyun Ahn, Moon Jung Song, Ok Sarah Shin, Chan Hee Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Varicella-zoster virus (VZV) is a causative agent for chickenpox and shingles. Comparative genomic sequence analysis of clinical and vaccine strains suggested potential sites responsible for attenuation. In this study, low and high passages of two VZV clinical strains cultured in human fibroblast cells were compared for genomic DNA sequences and growth characteristics. Mutations were detected at 187 and 162 sites in the strain YC01 and YC02, respectively. More than 86% of mutations were found in open reading frames, and ORF62 exhibited highest frequency of mutations. T to C and A to G transitions accounted for more 90% of all possible substitutions. Forty mutations were common to two strains, including 27 in ORF62. Mutations found in attenuated vaccine strains were also detected at 7 positions. Both high and low passage strains were infectious and grew similarly in human fibroblast cells. In guinea pig cells, however, high passage strain remained infectious while low passage strain lost infectivity. This study may provide new insight into the attenuating mutations associated with in vitro passaging of VZV.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)62-68
Number of pages7
JournalVirus Research
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Feb 2

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported in part by grant from Chungbuk National University 2015 and in part from Green Cross Company .

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Elsevier B.V.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Virology
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Cancer Research


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