Herpes simplex virus: receptors and ligands for cell entry

Cell Microbiol. 2004 May;6(5):401-10. doi: 10.1111/j.1462-5822.2004.00389.x.


Entry of herpes simplex virus (HSV) into cells depends upon multiple cell surface receptors and multiple proteins on the surface of the virion. The cell surface receptors include heparan sulphate chains on cell surface proteoglycans, a member of the tumor necrosis factor (TNF) receptor family and two members of the immunoglobulin superfamily related to the poliovirus receptor. The HSV ligands for these receptors are the envelope glycoproteins gB and gC for heparan sulphate and gD for the protein receptors and specific sites in heparan sulphate generated by certain 3-O-sulfotransferases. HSV gC also binds to the C3b component of complement and can block complement-mediated neutralization of virus. The purposes of this review are to summarize available information about these cell surface receptors and the viral ligands, gC and gD, and to discuss roles of these viral glycoproteins in immune evasion and cellular responses as well as in viral entry.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Binding Sites
  • Heparitin Sulfate / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Ligands*
  • Membrane Fusion
  • Models, Molecular
  • Protein Conformation
  • Receptors, Virus / metabolism*
  • Simplexvirus / genetics
  • Simplexvirus / metabolism*
  • Simplexvirus / pathogenicity
  • Viral Envelope Proteins / chemistry
  • Viral Envelope Proteins / genetics
  • Viral Envelope Proteins / metabolism


  • Ligands
  • Receptors, Virus
  • Viral Envelope Proteins
  • Heparitin Sulfate