New developments in tracing neural circuits with herpesviruses

C. Kay Song, Lynn W. Enquist, Timothy J. Bartness

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


Certain neurotropic viruses can invade the nervous system of their hosts and spread in chains of synaptically connected neurons. Consequently, it is possible to identify entire hierarchically connected circuits within an animal. In this review, we discuss the use of neurotropic herpesviruses as neuronal tract tracers. Although a variety of tract tracing viruses are available, each with its own unique infection characteristics, we focus on the widespread use of attenuated strains of pseudorabies virus (PRV), a swine herpesvirus with a broad host range. In particular, we focus on new applications of PRV for tract tracing including use of multiple infections by PRV reporter viruses to test for circuit convergence/divergence within the same animal. We provide examples of these combined application techniques within the context of an animal model to study the naturally occurring reversal of seasonal obesity in Siberian hamsters.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)235-249
Number of pages15
JournalVirus Research
Issue number2 SPEC. ISS.
StatePublished - Aug 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Cancer Research
  • Virology


  • Green fluorescent protein
  • Hamster
  • PRV
  • Pseudorabies virus
  • Red fluorescent protein
  • Sensory nerves
  • Sympathetic nervous system


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