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Open Access Research

Nectin-2-mediated entry of a syncytial strain of herpes simplex virus via pH-independent fusion with the plasma membrane of Chinese hamster ovary cells

Mark G Delboy, Jennifer L Patterson, Aimee M Hollander and Anthony V Nicola*

Author Affiliations

Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Medical College of Virginia at Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia, 23298-0678, USA

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Virology Journal 2006, 3:105  doi:10.1186/1743-422X-3-105

Published: 27 December 2006



Herpes simplex virus (HSV) can utilize multiple pathways to enter host cells. The factors that determine which route is taken are not clear. Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells that express glycoprotein D (gD)-binding receptors are model cells that support a pH-dependent, endocytic entry pathway for all HSV strains tested to date. Fusion-from-without (FFWO) is the induction of target cell fusion by addition of intact virions to cell monolayers in the absence of viral protein expression. The receptor requirements for HSV-induced FFWO are not known. We used the syncytial HSV-1 strain ANG path as a tool to evaluate the complex interplay between receptor usage, membrane fusion, and selection of entry pathway.


Inhibitors of endocytosis and endosome acidification blocked ANG path entry into CHO cells expressing nectin-1 receptors, but not CHO-nectin-2 cells. Thus, under these conditions, nectin-2 mediates pH-independent entry at the plasma membrane. In addition, CHO-nectin-2 cells supported pH-dependent, endocytic entry of different strains of HSV-1, including rid1 and HFEM. The kinetics of ANG path entry was rapid (t1/2 of 5–10 min) regardless of entry route. However, HSV-1 ANG path entry by fusion with the CHO-nectin-2 cell plasma membrane was more efficient and resulted in larger syncytia. ANG path virions added to the surface of CHO-nectin-2 cells, but not receptor-negative CHO cells or CHO-nectin-1 cells, induced rapid FFWO.


HSV-1 ANG path can enter CHO cells by either endocytic or non-endocytic pathways depending on whether nectin-1 or nectin-2 is present. In addition to these cellular receptors, one or more viral determinants is important for the selection of entry pathway. HSV-induced FFWO depends on the presence of an appropriate gD-receptor in the target membrane. Nectin-1 and nectin-2 target ANG path to divergent cellular pathways, and these receptors may have different roles in triggering viral membrane fusion.