Researchers discovered mutations of the OPTN gene resulted in increased herpesvirus 1 growth in the brains of mice, leading to the death of local neurons. This resulted in accelerated neurodegeneration. OPTN deficiency was also associated with impairments in immune response. While these findings are specific to the HSV-1 virus, researchers believe the findings may apply to up to eight herpesvirus infections.
Findings suggest cell-to-cell transmission of cGAMP via LRRC8/VRAC ion channels is central to effective antiviral immunity.