The novel receptors that mediate the entry of herpes simplex viruses and animal alphaherpesviruses into cells

Rev Med Virol. 2000 Sep-Oct;10(5):305-19. doi: 10.1002/1099-1654(200009/10)10:5<305::aid-rmv286>;2-t.


An extended array of cell surface molecules serve as receptors for HSV entry into cells. In addition to the heparan sulphate glycosaminoglycans, which mediate the attachment of virion to cells, HSV requires an entry receptor. The repertoire of entry receptors into human cells includes molecules from three structurally unrelated molecular families. They are (i) HveA (herpesvirus entry mediator A), (ii) members of the nectin family, (iii) 3-O-sulphated heparan sulphate. The molecules have different attributes and play potentially different roles in HSV infection and spread to human tissues. All the human entry receptors interact physically with the virion envelope glycoprotein D (gD). (i) HveA is a member of the TNF-receptor family. It mediates entry of a restricted range of HSV strains. Its expression is restricted to few lineages (e.g. T-lymphocytes). (ii) The human nectin1alpha (HIgR), nectin1delta (PRR1-HveC), and the nectin2alpha (PRR2alpha-HveB) and nectin2delta (PRR2delta) belong to the immunoglobulin superfamily. They are homologues of the poliovirus receptor (CD155), with which they share the overall structure of the ectodomain. The human nectin1alpha-delta are broadly expressed in cell lines of different lineages, are expressed in human tissue targets of HSV infection, serve as receptors for all HSV-1 and HSV-2 strains tested and mediate entry not only of free virions, but also cell-to-cell spread of virus. (iii) The 3-O-sulphated heparan sulphate is expressed in some selected human cell lines (e.g. endothelial and mast cells) and human tissues, and mediates entry of HSV-1, but not HSV-2. The human nectin2alpha and nectin2delta serve as receptors for a narrow range of viruses. A characteristic of the human nectin1alpha-delta is the promiscuous species non-specific receptor activity towards the animal alphaherpesviruses, pseudorabies virus (PrV) and bovine herpesvirus 1 (BHV-1). By contrast with the human nectin1delta, its murine homologue (mNectin1delta) does not bind gD at detectable level, yet it mediates entry of HSV, as well as of PrV and BHV-1. This provides the first example of a mediator of HSV entry independent of a detectable interaction with gD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alphaherpesvirinae / pathogenicity*
  • Alphaherpesvirinae / physiology
  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Herpesviridae Infections / virology*
  • Humans
  • Receptors, Virus / metabolism*
  • Simplexvirus / pathogenicity*
  • Simplexvirus / physiology


  • Receptors, Virus