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Neurosci Lett. 2008 Aug 1;440(2):113-8. doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2008.05.031. Epub 2008 May 15.

Herpes simplex virus type 1 induces filopodia in differentiated P19 neural cells to facilitate viral spread.

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Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of Illinois at Chicago, 1855 W. Taylor Street M/C 648, Chicago, IL 60612, United States.


Herpes simplex virus type-1 (HSV-1) is a neurotropic virus with significant potential as a viral vector for central nervous system (CNS) gene therapy. This study provides visual evidence that recombinant green fluorescent protein (GFP)-expressing HSV-1 travel down dendrites in differentiated P19 neuronal-like cells to efficiently reach the soma. The virus also promotes cytoskeletal rearrangements which facilitate viral spread in vitro, including often dramatic increases in dendritic filopodia. Viral movements, cell infection and filopodia induction were each reduced with the actin polymerization inhibitor cytochalasin D, suggesting the involvement of the actin cortex in these processes. The observation of neural cytoskeletal reorganization in response to HSV-1 may shed light on the mechanisms by which acute viral infection associated with herpes encephalitis produces cognitive deficits in patients.

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