Pseudorabies virus membrane proteins gI and gE facilitate anterograde spread of infection in projection-specific neurons in the rat

J Virol. 2000 Dec;74(23):10975-83. doi: 10.1128/jvi.74.23.10975-10983.2000.


The membrane proteins gI and gE of Pseudorabies virus (PRV) are required for viral invasion and spread through some neural pathways of the rodent central nervous system. Following infection of the rat retina with wild-type PRV, virus replicates in retinal ganglion neurons and anterogradely spreads to infect all visual centers in the brain. By contrast, gI and gE null mutants do not infect a specific subset of the visual centers, e.g., the superior colliculus and the dorsal lateral geniculate nucleus. In previous experiments, we suggested that the defect was not due to inability to infect projection-specific retinal ganglion cells, because mixed infection of a gE deletion mutant and a gI deletion mutant restored the wild-type phenotype (i.e., genetic complementation occurred). In the present study, we provide direct evidence that gE and gI function to promote the spread of infection after entry into primary neurons. We used stereotaxic central nervous system injection of a fluorescent retrograde tracer into the superior colliculus and subsequent inoculation of a PRV gI-gE double null mutant into the eye of the same animal to demonstrate that viral antigen and fluorescent tracer colocalize in retinal ganglion cells. Furthermore, we demonstrate that direct injection of a PRV gI-gE double null mutant into the superior colliculus resulted in robust infection followed by retrograde transport to the eye and replication in retinal ganglion neuron cell bodies. These experiments provide additional proof that the retinal ganglion cells projecting to the superior colliculus are susceptible and permissive to gE and gI mutant viruses. Our studies confirm that gI and gE specifically facilitate anterograde spread of infection by affecting intracellular processes in the primary infected neuron such as anterograde transport in axons or egress from axon terminals.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens, Viral / analysis
  • Herpesvirus 1, Suid / physiology*
  • Male
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Retinal Ganglion Cells / virology*
  • Superior Colliculi / virology*
  • Viral Envelope Proteins / physiology*


  • Antigens, Viral
  • Viral Envelope Proteins
  • pseudorabies virus glycoproteins