Equine major histocompatibility complex class I molecules act as entry receptors that bind to equine herpesvirus-1 glycoprotein D

Genes Cells. 2011 Apr;16(4):343-57. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2443.2011.01491.x. Epub 2011 Feb 10.


The endotheliotropism of equine herpesvirus-1 (EHV-1) leads to encephalomyelitis secondary to vasculitis and thrombosis in the infected horse central nervous system (CNS). To identify the host factors involved in EHV-1 infection of CNS endothelial cells, we performed functional cloning using an equine brain microvascular endothelial cell cDNA library. Exogenous expression of equine major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I heavy chain genes conferred susceptibility to EHV-1 infection in mouse NIH3T3 cells, which are not naturally susceptible to EHV-1 infection. Equine MHC class I molecules bound to EHV-1 glycoprotein D (gD), and both anti-gD antibodies and a soluble form of gD blocked viral entry into NIH3T3 cells stably expressing the equine MHC class I heavy chain gene (3T3-A68 cells). Treatment with an anti-equine MHC class I monoclonal antibody blocked EHV-1 entry into 3T3-A68 cells, equine dermis (E. Derm) cells and equine brain microvascular endothelial cells. In addition, inhibition of cell surface expression of MHC class I molecules in E. Derm cells drastically reduced their susceptibility to EHV-1 infection. These results suggest that equine MHC class I is a functional gD receptor that plays a pivotal role in EHV-1 entry into equine cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Endothelial Cells / virology
  • Genes, MHC Class I / genetics*
  • Genes, MHC Class I / physiology
  • Genetic Testing
  • Herpesviridae Infections / genetics
  • Herpesviridae Infections / immunology
  • Herpesviridae Infections / veterinary*
  • Herpesvirus 1, Equid / pathogenicity*
  • Horse Diseases / genetics
  • Horse Diseases / immunology*
  • Horses / immunology
  • Mice
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • NIH 3T3 Cells / virology
  • Viral Envelope Proteins / immunology*


  • Viral Envelope Proteins
  • glycoprotein D, Equid herpesvirus 1

Associated data

  • GENBANK/AB525079
  • GENBANK/AB525080