The production of a 57K stress protein (StrP) after herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) infection was examined in cultured neonatal rat retinal cells. StrP expression in individual cells was identified using a monoclonal antibody, TI56. Indirect immunofluorescence of uninfected retinal cultures showed that approximately 40% of cells expressed neurofilament (NF+) and 5% expressed a low level of StrP. Following HSV infection the proportion of NF+ cells decreased while the proportion of StrP positive cells became greater and the intensity of staining increased. The number of cells labelled with a polyclonal anti-HSV antibody increased with time after infection. Retinal neurons in culture can be infected with HSV, after which StrP expression is significantly upregulated.
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