Role of glycoprotein B of herpes simplex virus type 1 in viral entry and cell fusion

W. Cai, B. Gu, S. Person

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

348 Scopus citations


Glycoprotein B (gB) of herpes simplex virus type 1 is an envelope protein that is essential for viral growth. We previously reported the isolation of two gB-null viruses, which form gB-free virions in nonpermissive cells. In the present study, these gB-free virions were shown to bind to the cell surface at the same rate as the wild-type virus. They failed, however, to form plaques and to synthesize virus-specific proteins upon infection. Their plating efficiency was significantly enhanced by treatment with polyethylene glycol, a membrane fusion agent. Therefore, gB is required in a stage after viral attachment but before the expression of the virus-specific proteins. A gB-null syncytial virus was isolated, which contained a gB defect and a syncytial mutation in another genetic locus. It caused complete fusion of gB-transformed cell but no fusion on untransformed cells, indicating the essential role of gB in virus-induced cell fusion. Mutations located at two independent sites in the cytoplasmic domain of gB were transferred to viral DNA and shown to confer a syncytial phenotype to the virus. A transient-expression assay was developed to determine the ability of a set of plasmids containing addition and nonsense mutations in the gB gene to complement the cell-fusion defect in the gB-null syncytial virus. Mutations in plasmids, including those located in the extracytoplasmic domain of gB, were identified that reduced the fusion activity of gB. Therefore, gB contains different functional regions responsible for fusion induction and its inhibition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2596-2604
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of virology
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1988
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Insect Science
  • Virology


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