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ABSTRACT: Background: Gap junctional intercellular communication decreases with HSV-2 infection. To determine the importance of functional gap junctions for infectivity, we compared HSV-2 growth in communication-competent and -deficient cell lines. Methods: HSV-2 infectivity was tested in five cell lines: WB rat liver epithelial cells (communication-competent), WB-aB1 (communication-deficient), WB-a/32-10 (communication-rescued), HeLa (communication-deficient), and Cx43-transfected HeLa (communication-rescued) cells. HSV-2 growth curves and indirect immunofluorescence labeling of viral and cell proteins were performed in wild-type and mutant WB cells. Results: Although wild-type WB cells were highly permissive for HSV-2 infection, virus production was significantly attenuated in communication-deficient and -rescued mutant WB cells. HeLa exhibited no difference in infectivity between communication-competent and -deficient cell lines. Tight and adherens junction proteins, including zonula occludens-1 and nectin-1, were not different in the WB cell lines. However, E-cadherin levels were elevated and β-catenin was found to co-localize with glycoprotein E, a viral glycoprotein associated with cell-to-cell spread, in the mutant WB cells. Conclusions: These results suggest that attenuated viral production in mutant WB cells is due to viral protein co-localization with adherens junction proteins rather than the loss or restoration of functional gap junctions.