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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010 Jan 12;107(2):866-71. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0913351107. Epub 2009 Dec 22.

Myelin-associated glycoprotein mediates membrane fusion and entry of neurotropic herpesviruses.

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Department of Immunochemistry, Research Institute for Microbial Diseases and WPI Immunology Frontier Research Center, Osaka University, Suita, Osaka 565-0871, Japan.


Varicella-zoster virus (VZV) and herpes simplex virus (HSV) are prevalent neurotropic herpesviruses that cause various nervous system diseases. Similar to other enveloped viruses, membrane fusion is an essential process for viral entry. Therefore, identification of host molecules that mediate membrane fusion is important to understand the mechanism of viral infection. Here, we demonstrate that myelin-associated glycoprotein (MAG), mainly distributed in neural tissues, associates with VZV glycoprotein B (gB) and promotes cell-cell fusion when coexpressed with VZV gB and gH/gL. VZV preferentially infected MAG-transfected oligodendroglial cells. MAG also associated with HSV-1 gB and enhanced HSV-1 infection of promyelocytes. These findings suggested that MAG is involved in VZV and HSV infection of neural tissues.

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