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Virology. 2001 Jan 5;279(1):313-24.

Cell fusion induced by herpes simplex virus glycoproteins gB, gD, and gH-gL requires a gD receptor but not necessarily heparan sulfate.

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Department of Medicine, Northwestern University Medical School, Chicago, Illinois, 60611, USA.


To characterize cellular factors required for herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1)-induced cell fusion, we used an efficient and quantitative assay relying on expression of HSV-1 glycoproteins in transfected cells. We showed the following: (1) Cell fusion depended not only on expression of four viral glycoproteins (gB, gD, and gH-gL), as previously shown, but also on expression of cell surface entry receptors specific for gD. (2) Cell fusion required expression of all four glycoproteins in the same cell. (3) Heparan sulfate was not required for cell fusion. (4) Coexpression of receptor with the four glycoproteins in the same cell reduced fusion activity, indicating that interaction of gD and receptor can limit polykaryocyte formation. Overall, the viral and cellular determinants of HSV-1-induced cell fusion are similar to those for viral entry, except that HSV-1 entry is significantly enhanced by binding of virus to cell surface heparan sulfate.

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