Herpes Simplex Virus 1 Latency and the Kinetics of Reactivation Are Regulated by a Complex Network of Interactions between the Herpesvirus Entry Mediator, Its Ligands (gD, BTLA, LIGHT, and CD160), and the Latency-Associated Transcript

J Virol. 2018 Nov 27;92(24):e01451-18. doi: 10.1128/JVI.01451-18. Print 2018 Dec 15.


Recently, we reported that the herpesvirus entry mediator (HVEM; also called TNFRSF14 or CD270) is upregulated by the latency-associated transcript (LAT) of herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) and that the absence of HVEM affects latency reactivation but not primary infection in ocularly infected mice. gD has been shown to bind to HVEM. LIGHT (TNFSF14), CD160, and BTLA (B- and T-lymphocyte attenuator) also interact with HVEM and can interfere with HSV gD binding. It was not known if LIGHT, CD160, or BTLA affected the level of latency reactivation in the trigeminal ganglia (TG) of latently infected mice. To address this issue, we ocularly infected LIGHT-/-, CD160-/-, and BTLA-/- mice with LAT(+) and LAT(-) viruses, using similarly infected wild-type (WT) and HVEM-/- mice as controls. The amount of latency, as determined by the levels of gB DNA in the TG of the LIGHT-/-, CD160-/-, and BTLA-/- mice infected with either LAT(+) or LAT(-) viruses, was lower than that in WT mice infected with LAT(+) virus and was similar in WT mice infected with LAT(-) virus. The levels of LAT RNA in HVEM-/-, LIGHT-/-, CD160-/-, and BTLA-/- mice infected with LAT(+) virus were similar and were lower than the levels of LAT RNA in WT mice. However, LIGHT-/-, CD160-/-, and BTLA-/- mice, independent of the presence of LAT, had levels of reactivation similar to those of WT mice infected with LAT(+) virus. Faster reactivation correlated with the upregulation of HVEM transcript. The LIGHT-/-, CD160-/-, and BTLA-/- mice had higher levels of HVEM expression, and this, along with the absence of BTLA, LIGHT, or CD160, may contribute to faster reactivation, while the absence of each molecule, independent of LAT, may have contributed to lower latency. This study suggests that, in the absence of competition with gD for binding to HVEM, LAT RNA is important for WT levels of latency but not for WT levels of reactivation.IMPORTANCE The effects of BTLA, LIGHT, and CD160 on latency reactivation are not known. We show here that in BTLA, LIGHT, or CD160 null mice, latency is reduced; however, HVEM expression is upregulated compared to that of WT mice, and this upregulation is associated with higher reactivation that is independent of LAT but dependent on gD expression. Thus, one of the mechanisms by which BTLA, LIGHT, and CD160 null mice enhance reactivation appears to be the increased expression of HVEM in the presence of gD. Thus, our results suggest that blockade of HVEM-LIGHT-BTLA-CD160 contributes to reduced HSV-1 latency and reactivation.

Keywords: corneal scarring; eye diseases; latency; ocular; reactivation; virus replication.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens, CD / genetics*
  • Eye Diseases / genetics
  • Eye Diseases / virology*
  • Female
  • GPI-Linked Proteins / genetics
  • Gene Knockout Techniques
  • Herpes Simplex / genetics*
  • Herpes Simplex / virology
  • Herpesvirus 1, Human / physiology*
  • Kinetics
  • Male
  • Mice
  • MicroRNAs / genetics*
  • Receptors, Immunologic / genetics*
  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor, Member 14 / genetics
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor Ligand Superfamily Member 14 / genetics*
  • Viral Envelope Proteins / genetics
  • Virus Internalization
  • Virus Latency
  • Virus Replication


  • Antigens, CD
  • BTLA protein, mouse
  • Cd160 protein, mouse
  • GPI-Linked Proteins
  • MicroRNAs
  • Receptors, Immunologic
  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor, Member 14
  • Tnfrsf14 protein, mouse
  • Tnfsf14 protein, mouse
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor Ligand Superfamily Member 14
  • Viral Envelope Proteins
  • glycoprotein D, Human herpesvirus 1
  • latency associated transcript, herpes simplex virus-1