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J Virol. 1998 Jul;72(7):5351-9.

In vivo immune evasion mediated by the herpes simplex virus type 1 immunoglobulin G Fc receptor.

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Infectious Diseases Division, Department of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104-6073, USA.


Herpes simplex virus (HSV) glycoproteins gE and gI form an immunoglobulin G (IgG) Fc receptor (FcgammaR) that binds the Fc domain of human anti-HSV IgG and inhibits Fc-mediated immune functions in vitro. gE or gI deletion mutant viruses are avirulent, probably because gE and gI are also involved in cell-to-cell spread. In an effort to modify FcgammaR activity without affecting other gE functions, we constructed a mutant virus, NS-gE339, that has four amino acids inserted into gE within the domain homologous to mammalian IgG FcgammaRs. NS-gE339 expresses gE and gI, is FcgammaR-, and does not participate in antibody bipolar bridging since it does not block activities mediated by the Fc domain of anti-HSV IgG. In vivo studies were performed with mice because the HSV-1 FcgammaR does not bind murine IgG; therefore, the absence of an FcgammaR should not affect virulence in mice. NS-gE339 causes disease at the skin inoculation site comparably to wild-type and rescued viruses, indicating that the FcgammaR- mutant virus is pathogenic in animals. Mice were passively immunized with human anti-HSV IgG and then infected with mutant or wild-type virus. We postulated that the HSV-1 FcgammaR should protect wild-type virus from antibody attack. Human anti-HSV IgG greatly reduced viral titers and disease severity in NS-gE339-infected animals while having little effect on wild-type or rescued virus. We conclude that the HSV-1 FcgammaR enables the virus to evade antibody attack in vivo, which likely explains why antibodies are relatively ineffective against HSV infection.

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