The herpesvirus entry mediator A (HveA) is a recently characterized member of the tumor necrosis factor receptor family that mediates the entry of most herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) strains into mammalian cells. Studies on the interaction of HSV-1 with HveA have shown that of all the viral proteins involved in uptake, only gD has been shown to bind directly to HveA, and this binding mediates viral entry into cells. In addition to gD binding to HveA, the latter has been shown to interact with proteins of tumor necrosis factor receptor-associated factor family, lymphotoxin-alpha (LT-alpha), and a membrane-associated protein referred to as LIGHT. To study the relationship between HveA, its natural ligands, and the viral proteins involved in HSV entry into cells, we have screened two phage-displayed combinatorial peptide libraries for peptide ligands of a recombinant form of HveA. Affinity selection experiments yielded two peptide ligands, BP-1 and BP-2, which could block the interaction between gD and HveA. Of the two peptides, only BP-2 inhibited HSV entry into CHO cells transfected with an HveA-expressing plasmid. When we analyzed these peptides for the ability to interfere with HveA binding to its natural ligand LT-alpha, we found that BP-1 inhibited the interaction of cellular LT-alpha with HveA. Thus, we have dissected the sites of interaction between the cell receptor, its natural ligand LT-alpha and gD, the virus-specific protein involved in HSV entry into cells.