Although it is well-known that herpes simplex virus can establish latent infections in neurons of sensory and sympathetic ganglia, little is known about the viral or cellular factors which regulate the latent state. Experiments were designed to elucidate the effects that can be produced by adding gangliosides, abundant components in neurons but not in most other cell types, to virus-infected cells from mouse trigeminal ganglia and from the neuroblastoma × glioma hybrid cell line NG108-15. The results obtained indicate that gangliosides, when used in combination with acyclovir, efficiently protect the infected cells from lysis in both cell systems, and that they can exert antiviral activity at least in part via suppressing protein kinase C activity.

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