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J Biol Chem. 2007 Sep 14;282(37):27503-17. Epub 2007 Jul 20.

Cellular internalization of green fluorescent protein fused with herpes simplex virus protein VP22 via a lipid raft-mediated endocytic pathway independent of caveolae and Rho family GTPases but dependent on dynamin and Arf6.

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Department of Biophysics and Biochemistry, Graduate School of Science, University of Tokyo, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-0033, Japan.


VP22 is a structural protein of the herpes simplex virus and has been reported to possess unusual trafficking properties. Here we examined the mechanism of cellular uptake of VP22 using a fusion protein between the C-terminal half of VP22 and green fluorescent protein (GFP). Adsorption of VP22-GFP onto a cell surface required heparan sulfate proteoglycans and basic amino acids, in particular, Arg-164 of VP22. Inhibitor treatment, RNA interference, expression of dominant-negative mutant genes, and confocal microscopy all indicated that VP22-GFP enters cells through an endocytic pathway independent of clathrin and caveolae but dependent on dynamin and Arf6 activity. As with CD59 (a lipid raft marker), cell-surface VP22-GFP signals were resistant to Triton X-100 treatment but only partially overlapped cell-surface CD59 signals. Furthermore, unlike other lipid raft-mediated endocytic pathways, no Rho family GTPase was required for VP22-GFP internalization. Internalized VP22 initially entered early endosomes and then moved to lysosomes and possibly recycling endosomes.

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