Using Primary SCG Neuron Cultures to Study Molecular Determinants of HSV-1 Latency and Reactivation

  • Hui-Lan Hu
  • Kalanghad Puthankalam Srinivas
  • Ian Mohr
  • Tony T. HuangEmail author
  • Angus C. WilsonEmail author
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 2060)


We describe a primary neuronal culture system suitable for molecular characterization of herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) infection, latency, and reactivation. While several alternative models are available, including infections of live animal or explanted ganglia, these are complicated by the presence of multiple cell types, including immune cells, and difficulties in manipulating the neuronal environment. The highly pure neuron culture system described here can be readily manipulated and is ideal for molecular studies that focus exclusively on the relationship between the virus and host neuron, the fundamental unit of latency. As such this model allows for detailed investigations of both viral and neuronal factors involved in the establishment and maintenance of HSV-1 latency and in viral reactivation induced by defined stimuli.

Key words

HSV-1 Latency Reactivation SCG neuron culture In vitro system Lentiviral delivery RNA interference 



We thank past members of the Mohr and Wilson Labs for establishing these protocols as well as Moses Chao for his continuous support of our latency studies and for teaching us about the role of nerve growth factor in sustaining sympathetic neurons. This work was funded by NIH grants GM107257 (T.T.H.), GM056927, AI073898 (I.M.), AI130618 (A.W.), and funds from the V Foundation for BRCA Cancer Research to T.T.H.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biochemistry and Molecular PharmacologyNew York University School of MedicineNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Department of MicrobiologyNew York University School of MedicineNew YorkUSA

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