Human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6), a member of the betaherpesvirus family, has two distinct species: HHV-6A and HHV-6B. HHV-6B real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) has been used to distinguish between active and latent viral infection. In this study, we developed a real-time RT-PCR assay to detect HHV-6A-specific transcripts and evaluated its reliability for analysis of clinical samples. To develop HHV-6A-specific real-time RT-PCR assays, three different classes of gene transcripts (immediate early: U90; early: U12; and late: U100) were selected as targets. Serial d ilutions of plasmid DNAs containing target sequences and RNAs extracted from HHV-6A-infected cells were used to determine assay specificity and sensitivity. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) collected from patients with either primary or reactivated HHV-6B infection, and one patient with X-linked severe combined immunodeficiency (X-SCID) with HHV-6A reactivation, were used to evaluate assay reliability. The HHV-6A-specific real-time RT-PCR assays amplified plasmids containing the target sequences at concentrations between 10 and 1 × 106 copies per reaction. The intra-assay coefficients of variation were less than 5%. The three classes of HHV-6A gene transcripts were not detected in any HHV-6B sample isolated from the patients. In the X-SCID patient, high copy numbers of HHV-6A U12 and U100 transcripts were detected in PBMC samples during viremia. Thus, we successfully established highly sensitive and reproducible real-time RT-PCR methods targeting three classes of HHV-6A gene transcripts. This method should be useful for discriminating active HHV-6A infection from either latent infection or chromosomally integrated HHV-6A (ciHHV-6A).
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Infectious Diseases