The extracellular domain of herpes simplex virus gE is sufficient for accumulation at cell junctions but not for cell-to-cell spread

Tood Wisner, Craig Brunetti, Kevin Dingwell, David C. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


Herpes simplex virus (HSV) expresses a number of membrane glycoproteins, including gB, gD, and gH/gL, that function in both entry of virus particles and movement of virus from an infected cell to an uninfected cell (cell-to- cell spread). However, a complex of HSV glycoproteins gE and gI (gE/gI) is required for efficient cell-to-cell spread, especially between cells that form extensive cell junctions, yet it is not necessary for entry of extracellular virions. We previously showed that gE/gI has the capacity to localize specifically to cell junctions; the glycoprotein complex was found at lateral surfaces of cells in contact with other cells but not at those lateral surfaces not forming junctions or at apical surfaces. By virtue of these properties, gE/gI is an important molecular handle on the poorly understood process of cell-to-cell spread. Here, we show that the cytoplasmic domain of gE is important for the proper delivery of gE/gI to lateral surfaces of cells. Without this domain, gE/gI is found on the apical surface of epithelial cells, and more uniformly in the cytoplasm, although incorporation into the virion envelope is unaffected. However, even without proper trafficking signals, a substantial fraction of gE/gI retained the capacity to accumulate at cell junctions. Therefore, the extracellular domain of gE can mediate accumulation of gE/gI at cell junctions, if the glycoprotein can be delivered there, probably through interactions with ligands on the opposing cell. The role of phosphorylation of the cytoplasmic domain of gE was also studied. A second mutant HSV type 1 was constructed in which three serine residues that form a casein kinase II phosphorylation site were changed to alanine residues, reducing phosphorylation by 70 to 80%. This mutation did not affect accumulation at cell junctions or cell-to-cell spread.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2278-2287
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of virology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Insect Science
  • Virology


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