Supplementary Material for: Syncytia Induction by Clinical Isolates of Human Respiratory Syncytial Virus A

<i>Objective:</i> Syncytia formation is the hallmark of the cytopathic effect caused by human respiratory syncytial virus (HRSV), which is the most important viral respiratory pathogen in children. This article reports methodological improvements in primary HRSV isolation and the importance of syncytia formation and mRNA levels of F protein for the progeny yield, using clinical isolates of HRSV. <i>Methods:</i> The A and B strains of HRSV were isolated in HEp-2 cell cultures from fresh and frozen nasopharyngeal aspirates. The formation of syncytia was evaluated using 2 different assays. Levels of F protein mRNA were quantified by real-time PCR while HRSV progeny titration was done by plaque assay. <i>Results:</i> HRSV was primarily isolated from 238 of 312 (90.7%) samples, and 13 of these (12 HRSV-A and 1 HRSV-B) were continuously passaged in vitro. The quantity and size of syncytia formed by 6 pure HRSV-A clinical isolates were different, as were the levels of F protein mRNA. <i>Conclusion:</i> There is a direct correlation of quantities of syncytia and inoculum size, but not with mRNA levels of HRSV-A F protein. Importantly, levels of F protein mRNA were directly related to progeny production.