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J Virol. 1996 Sep; 70(9): 6067–6070.
PMCID: PMC190628

Oligomeric structure of glycoproteins in herpes simplex virus type 1.


A number of herpes simplex virus (HSV) glycoproteins are found in oligomeric states: glycoprotein E (gE)-gI and gH-gL form heterodimers, and both gB and gC have been detected as homodimers. We have further explored the organization of glycoproteins in the virion envelope by using both purified virions to quantitate glycoprotein amounts and proportions and chemical cross-linkers to detect oligomers. We purified gB, gC, gD, and gH from cells infected with HSV type 1 and used these as immunological standards. Glycoproteins present in sucrose gradient-purified preparations of two strains of HSV type 1, KOS and NS, were detected with antibodies to each of the purified proteins. From these data, glycoprotein molar ratios of 1:2:11:16 and 1:1:14:9 were calculated for gB/gC/gD/gH in KOS and NS, respectively. gL was also detected in virions, although we lacked a purified gL standard for quantitation. We then asked whether complexes of these glycoproteins could be identified, and if they existed as homo- or hetero-oligomers. Purified KOS was incubated at 4 degrees C with bis (sulfosuccinimidyl) suberate (BS3), an 11.4 A (1A = 0.1 mm) noncleavable, water-soluble cross-linker. Virus extracts were examined by Western blotting (immunoblotting), or immunoprecipitation followed by Western blotting, to assay for homo- and hetero-oligomers. Homodimers of gB, gC, and gD were detected, and hetero-oligomers containing gB cross-linked to gC, gC to gD, and gD to gB were also identified. gH and gL were detected as a hetero-oligomeric pair and could be cross-linked to gD or gC but not to gB. We conclude that these glycoproteins are capable of forming associations with one another. These studies suggest that glycoproteins are closely associated in virions and have the potential to function as oligomeric complexes.

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Selected References

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