Replication of Herpes Simplex Virus: Egress of Progeny Virus at Specialized Cell Membrane Sites

Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Cancer Biology, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia, USA.
Journal of Virology (Impact Factor: 4.44). 04/2012; 86(13):7084-97. DOI: 10.1128/JVI.00463-12
Source: PubMed


In the final stages of the herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) life cycle, a viral nucleocapsid buds into a vesicle of trans-Golgi network (TGN)/endosome origin, acquiring an envelope and an outer vesicular membrane. The virus-containing vesicle then traffics to the plasma membrane where it fuses, exposing a mature virion. Although the process of directed egress has been studied in polarized epithelial cell lines, less work has been done in nonpolarized cell types. In this report, we describe a study of HSV-1 egress as it occurs in nonpolarized cells. The examination of infected Vero cells by electron, confocal, and total internal reflection fluorescence (TIRF) microscopy revealed that HSV-1 was released at specific pocket-like areas of the plasma membrane that were found along the substrate-adherent surface and cell-cell-adherent contacts. Both the membrane composition and cytoskeletal structure of egress sites were found to be modified by infection. The plasma membrane at virion release sites was heavily enriched in viral glycoproteins. Small glycoprotein patches formed early in infection, and virus became associated with these areas as they expanded. Glycoprotein-rich areas formed independently from virion trafficking as confirmed by the use of a UL25 mutant with a defect in capsid nuclear egress. The depolymerization of the cytoskeleton indicated that microtubules were important for the trafficking of virions and glycoproteins to release sites. In addition, the actin cytoskeleton was found to be necessary for maintaining the integrity of egress sites. When actin was depolymerized, the glycoprotein concentrations dispersed across the membrane, as did the surface-associated virus. Lastly, viral glycoprotein E appeared to function in a different manner in nonpolarized cells compared to previous studies of egress in polarized epithelial cells; the total amount of virus released at egress sites was slightly increased in infected Vero cells when gE was absent. However, gE was important for egress site formation, as Vero cells infected with gE deletion mutants formed glycoprotein patches that were significantly reduced in size. The results of this study are interpreted to indicate that the egress of HSV-1 in Vero cells is directed to virally induced, specialized egress sites that form along specific areas of the cell membrane.

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