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Virology. 2010 Feb 20;397(2):389-98. doi: 10.1016/j.virol.2009.11.011. Epub 2009 Dec 11.

Expanding the role of 3-O sulfated heparan sulfate in herpes simplex virus type-1 entry.

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Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, College of Medicine, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL 60612, USA.


Heparan sulfate (HS) proteoglycans are commonly exploited by multiple viruses for initial attachment to host cells. Herpes simplex virus-1 (HSV-1) is unique because it can use HS for both attachment and penetration, provided specific binding sites for HSV-1 envelope glycoprotein gD are present. The interaction with gD is mediated by specific HS moieties or 3-O sulfated HS (3-OS HS), which are generated by all but one of the seven isoforms of 3-O sulfotransferases (3-OSTs). Here we demonstrate that several common experimental cell lines express unique sets of 3-OST isoforms. While the isoforms 3-OST-3, -5 and -6 were most commonly expressed, isoforms 3-OST-2 and -4 were undetectable in the cell lines examined. Since most cell lines expressed multiple 3-OST isoforms, we addressed the significance of 3-OS HS in HSV-1 entry by down-regulating 2-O-sulfation, a prerequisite for 3-OS HS formation, by knocking down 2-OST expression by RNA interference (RNAi). 2-OST knockdown was verified by reverse-transcriptase PCR and Western blot analysis, while 3-OS HS knockdown was verified by immunofluorescence. Cells showed a significant decrease in viral entry, suggesting an important role for 3-OS HS. Implicating 3-OS HS further, cells knocked down for 2-OST expression also demonstrated decreased cell-cell fusion when cocultivated with effector cells transfected with HSV-1 glycoproteins. Our findings suggest that 3-OS HS may play an important role in HSV-1 entry into many different cell lines.

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