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Multicolored syncytia induced by morbilliviruses isolated from ferret white blood cells

Vero cells expressing canine SLAM were co-cultured with white blood cells of ferrets. The animals had been inoculated via different routes with recombinant canine distemper viruses expressing the fluorescent proteins Venus, dTom or TagBFP. Systemic virus dissemination in vivo resulted in circulation of single, double- and triple-infected lymphocytes. Morbillivirus isolation in vitro induced formation of multinucleated syncytia of which the cytoplasm was flooded with different combinations of fluorescent reporter proteins. This virus competition model will facilitate identification of factors associated with viral fitness and transmission. Image taken by confocal laser scanning microscopy. de Swart et al.

Image Credit: Rory de Vries, Paul Duprex and Rik de Swart