Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 26491153
Link to DOI – 10.1128/JVI.01985-15
J Virol 2016 01; 90(1): 421-32
Membrane fusion is indispensable for entry of enveloped viruses into host cells. The conserved core fusion machinery of the Herpesviridae consists of glycoprotein B (gB) and the gH/gL complex. Recently, crystal structures of gH/gL of herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV-2) and Epstein-Barr virus and of a core fragment of pseudorabies virus (PrV) gH identified four structurally conserved gH domains. To investigate functional conservation, chimeric genes encoding combinations of individual domains of PrV and herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) gH were expressed in rabbit kidney cells, and their processing and transport to the cell surface, as well as activity in fusion assays including gB, gD, and gL of PrV or HSV-1, were analyzed. Chimeric gH containing domain I of HSV-1 and domains II to IV of PrV exhibited limited fusion activity in the presence of PrV gB and gD and HSV-1 gL, but not of PrV gL. More strikingly, chimeric gH consisting of PrV domains I to III and HSV-1 domain IV exhibited considerable fusion activity together with PrV gB, gD, and gL. Replacing PrV gB with the HSV-1 protein significantly enhanced this activity. A cell line stably expressing this chimeric gH supported replication of gH-deleted PrV. Our results confirm the specificity of domain I for gL binding, demonstrate functional conservation of domain IV in two alphaherpesviruses from different genera, and indicate species-specific interactions of this domain with gB. They also suggest that gH domains II and III might form a structural and functional unit which does not tolerate major substitutions.Envelope glycoprotein H (gH) is essential for herpesvirus-induced membrane fusion, which is required for host cell entry and viral spread. Although gH is structurally conserved within the Herpesviridae, its precise role and its interactions with other components of the viral fusion machinery are not fully understood. Chimeric proteins containing domains of gH proteins from different herpesviruses can serve as tools to elucidate the molecular basis of gH function. The present study shows that the C-terminal part of human herpesvirus 1 (herpes simplex virus 1) gH can functionally substitute for the corresponding part of suid herpesvirus 1 (pseudorabies virus) gH, whereas other tested combinations proved to be nonfunctional. Interestingly, the exchangeable fragment included the membrane-proximal end of the gH ectodomain (domain IV), which is most conserved in sequence and structure and might be capable of transient membrane interaction during fusion.