The amino terminus of herpes simplex virus type 1 glycoprotein K (gK) modulates gB-mediated virus-induced cell fusion and virion egress

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Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1)-induced cell fusion is mediated by viral glycoproteins and other membrane proteins expressed on infected cell surfaces. Certain mutations in the carboxyl terminus of HSV-1 glycoprotein B (gB) and in the amino terminus of gK cause extensive virus-induced cell fusion. Although gB is known to be a fusogenic glycoprotein, the mechanism by which gK is involved in virus-induced cell fusion remains elusive. To delineate the amino-terminal domains of gK involved in virus-induced cell fusion, the recombinant viruses gKΔ31-47, gKΔ31-68, and gKΔ31-117, expressing gK carrying in-frame deletions spanning the amino terminus of gK immediately after the gK signal sequence (amino acids [aa] 1 to 30), were constructed. Mutant viruses gKΔ31-47 and gKΔ31-117 exhibited a gK-null (ΔgK) phenotype characterized by the formation of very small viral plaques and up to a 2-log reduction in the production of infectious virus in comparison to that for the parental HSV-1(F) wild-type virus. The gKΔ31-68 mutant virus formed substantially larger plaques and produced 1-log-higher titers than the gKΔ31-47 and gKΔ31-117 mutant virions at low multiplicities of infection. Deletion of 28 aa from the carboxyl terminus of gB (gBΔ28syn) caused extensive virus-induced cell fusion. However, the gBΔmutation was unable to cause virus-induced cell fusion in the presence of the gKΔ-68 mutation. Transient expression of a peptide composed of the amino-terminal 82 aa of gK (gKa) produced a glycosylated peptide that was efficiently expressed on cell surfaces only after infection with the HSV-1(F), gKΔ31-68, ΔgK, or UL20-null virus. The gKa peptide complemented the gKΔ31-47 and gKΔ-68 mutant viruses for infectious-virus production and for gKΔ31-68/gBΔ28syn-mediated cell fusion. These data show that the amino terminus of gK modulates gB-mediated virus-induced cell fusion and virion egress. Copyright © 2009, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.

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Journal of Virology

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