The class E genome of human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) contains long and short segments that invert due to recombination between flanking inverted repeats, causing the genome to isomerize into four distinct isomers. To determine if isomerization is important for HCMV replication, one copy of each repeat was deleted. The resulting virus replicated in cultured human fibroblasts with only a slight growth impairment. Restriction and Southern analyses confirmed that its genome is locked in the prototypic arrangement and unable to isomerize. We conclude that efficient replication of HCMV in fibroblasts does not require (i) the ability to undergo genome isomerization, (ii) genes that lie partially within the deleted repeats, or (iii) diploidy of genes that lie wholly within repeats. The simple genomic structure of this virus should facilitate studies of genome circularization, latency or persistence, and concatemer packaging as such studies are hindered by the complexities imposed by isomerization. © 2010 Elsevier Inc.
Sauer, A., Wang, J. B., Hahn, G., & McVoy, M. A. (2010). A human cytomegalovirus deleted of internal repeats replicates with near wild type efficiency but fails to undergo genome isomerization. Virology, 401(1), 90–95. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.virol.2010.02.016