Variability of herpes simplex virus 1 gL and anti-gL antibodies that inhibit cell fusion but not viral infectivity

Virology. 1996 Jul 1;221(1):1-13. doi: 10.1006/viro.1996.0347.


Herpes simplex virus type 1 gL lacks a transmembrane domain but stably associates with membranes through its oligomerization with the integral membrane glycoprotein designated gH. The gH-gL oligomers are essential for virion infectivity and virus-induced cell fusion. Monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies were raised against HSV-1(KOS) gL as probes for antigenic structure and functional protein domains. Antigenic determinants recognized by these antibodies were found to be present on gL expressed by many, but not all, strains of HSV-1 and were not detected on gL expressed by HSV-2 strains. These antigenic determinants were localized to the C-terminal region of HSV-1 gL, where amino acid substitutions define at least two classes of HSV-1 gL and where the sequences of HSV-1 and HSV-2 gL diverge considerably. The antibodies were extremely effective at inhibiting virus-induced cell fusion, provided the virus strain expressed the relevant antigenic determinants, but failed to neutralize viral infectivity despite demonstrable binding to virions. These results define strain-dependent differences in the structure and antigenic conformation of HSV-1 forms of gL and suggest that the roles of gL in cell fusion and viral entry are different.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Viral / immunology*
  • Antigenic Variation
  • Antigens, Viral / immunology
  • Base Sequence
  • Chlorocebus aethiops
  • DNA Primers
  • Herpesvirus 1, Human / immunology*
  • Herpesvirus 1, Human / pathogenicity
  • Humans
  • Membrane Fusion*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Rabbits
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured
  • Vero Cells
  • Viral Envelope Proteins / immunology*


  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Antigens, Viral
  • DNA Primers
  • Viral Envelope Proteins
  • glycoprotein L, Human herpesvirus 1