Kinesin-1 Proteins KIF5A, -5B, and -5C promote anterograde transport of herpes simplex virus enveloped virions in axons

Grayson DuRaine, Todd W. Wisner, Paul Howard, David C. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Herpes simplex virus (HSV) and other alphaherpesviruses must spread from sites of viral latency in sensory ganglia to peripheral tissues, where the viruses can replicate to higher titers before spreading to other hosts. These viruses move in neuronal axons from ganglia to the periphery propelled by kinesin motors moving along microtubules. Two forms of HSV particles undergo this anterograde transport in axons: (i) unenveloped capsids that become enveloped after reaching axon tips and (ii) enveloped virions that are transported within membrane vesicles in axons. Fundamental to understanding this axonal transport is the question of which of many different axonal kinesins convey HSV particles. Knowing which kinesins promote axonal transport would provide clues to the identity of HSV proteins that tether onto kinesins. Prominent among axonal kinesins are the kinesin-1 (KIF5A, -5B, and -5C) and kinesin-3 (e.g., KIF1A and -1B) families. We characterized fluorescent forms of cellular cargo molecules to determine if enveloped HSV particles were present in the vesicles containing these cargos. Kinesin-1 cargo proteins were present in vesicles containing HSV particles, but not kinesin-3 cargos. Fluorescent kinesin-1 protein KIF5C extensively colocalized with HSV particles, while fluorescent kinesin-1 KIF1A did not. Silencing of kinesin-1 proteins KIF5A, -5B, and -5C or light chains KLC1 and KLC2 inhibited the majority of HSV anterograde transport, while silencing of KIF1A had little effect on HSV transport in axons. We concluded that kinesin-1 proteins are important in the anterograde transport of the majority of HSV enveloped virions in neuronal axons and kinesin-3 proteins are less important. IMPORTANCE Herpes simplex virus (HSV) and other alphaherpesviruses, such as varicella-zoster virus, depend upon the capacity to navigate in neuronal axons. To do this, virus particles tether onto dyneins and kinesins that motor along microtubules from axon tips to neuronal cell bodies (retrograde) or from cell bodies to axon tips (anterograde). Following reactivation from latency, alphaherpesviruses absolutely depend upon anterograde transport of virus particles in axons in order to reinfect peripheral tissues and spread to other hosts. Which of the many axonal kinesins transport HSV in axons is not clear. We characterized fluorescent cellular cargo molecules and kinesins to provide evidence that HSV enveloped particles are ferried by kinesin-1 proteins KIF5A, -5B, and -5C and their light chains, KLC1 and KLC2, in axons. Moreover, we obtained evidence that kinesin-1 proteins are functionally important in anterograde transport of HSV virions by silencing these proteins.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere01269
JournalJournal of virology
Issue number20
StatePublished - Oct 1 2018


  • Anterograde
  • Axons
  • Baculoviruses
  • KIF1
  • KIF5
  • Kinesins
  • Neurons
  • Silencing
  • miRNAs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Insect Science
  • Virology


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