Herpes simplex virus glycoprotein B binds to cell surfaces independently of heparan sulfate and blocks virus entry

J Virol. 2005 Sep;79(18):11588-97. doi: 10.1128/JVI.79.18.11588-11597.2005.


Virion glycoproteins gB, gD, and gH/gL play essential roles for herpes simplex virus (HSV) entry. The function of gD is to interact with a cognate receptor, and soluble forms of gD block HSV entry by tying up cell surface receptors. Both gB and the nonessential gC interact with cell surface heparan sulfate proteoglycan (HSPG), promoting viral attachment. However, cells deficient in proteoglycan synthesis can still be infected by HSV. This suggests another function for gB. We found that a soluble truncated form of gB bound saturably to the surface of Vero, A431, HeLa, and BSC-1 cells, L-cells, and a mouse melanoma cell line expressing the gD receptor nectin-1. The HSPG analog heparin completely blocked attachment of the gC ectodomain to Vero cells. In contrast, heparin only partially blocked attachment of soluble gB, leaving 20% of the input gB still bound even at high concentrations of inhibitor. Moreover, heparin treatment removed soluble gC but not gB from the cell surface. These data suggest that a portion of gB binds to cells independently of HSPG. In addition, gB bound to two HSPG-deficient cell lines derived from L-cells. Gro2C cells are deficient in HSPG, and Sog9 cells are deficient in HSPG, as well as chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan (CSPG). To identify particular gB epitopes responsible for HSPG-independent binding, we used a panel of monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) to gB to block gB binding. Only those gB MAbs that neutralized virus blocked binding of soluble gB to the cells. HSV entry into Gro2C and Sog9 cells was reduced but still detectable relative to the parental L-cells, as previously reported. Importantly, entry into Gro2C cells was blocked by purified forms of either the gD or gB ectodomain. On a molar basis, the extent of inhibition by gB was similar to that seen with gD. Together, these results suggest that soluble gB binds specifically to the surface of different cell types independently of HSPG and CSPG and that by doing so, the protein inhibits entry. The results provide evidence for the existence of a cellular entry receptor for gB.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Binding Sites
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Cell Membrane / virology
  • Chlorocebus aethiops
  • HeLa Cells
  • Heparin / pharmacology
  • Heparitin Sulfate / metabolism*
  • Herpesvirus 1, Human / genetics
  • Herpesvirus 1, Human / pathogenicity
  • Herpesvirus 1, Human / physiology*
  • Humans
  • L Cells
  • Mice
  • Peptide Fragments / chemistry
  • Peptide Fragments / genetics
  • Peptide Fragments / metabolism
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Proteoglycans / metabolism
  • Receptors, Virus / metabolism*
  • Solubility
  • Vero Cells
  • Viral Envelope Proteins / chemistry
  • Viral Envelope Proteins / genetics
  • Viral Envelope Proteins / metabolism
  • Viral Envelope Proteins / physiology*


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Peptide Fragments
  • Proteoglycans
  • Receptors, Virus
  • Viral Envelope Proteins
  • glycoprotein B, Simplexvirus
  • glycoprotein gC, herpes simplex virus type 1
  • Heparin
  • Heparitin Sulfate