The varicella zoster virus glycoprotein B (gB) plays a role in virus binding to cell surface heparan sulfate proteoglycans

Virus Res. 1998 Feb;53(2):197-207. doi: 10.1016/s0168-1702(97)00149-4.


Varicella-zoster virus (VZV) interacts with cell surface heparan sulfate proteoglycans during virus attachment. In the present study, we investigated the potential involvement of two VZV glycoproteins, gB and gE, in the virus adsorption process. We showed that gB, but not gE, binds specifically to cellular heparan sulfate proteoglycans (HSPGs). Indeed, soluble recombinant gB protein (recgB) was found to bind to immobilized heparin and to MRC5 and L cells, a binding which was inhibited by heparin. Furthermore, recgB binding to two heparan sulfate-minus mutant L cell lines, gro2C and sog9 cells, was markedly reduced as compared to the parental L strain. Under the same experimental conditions, soluble recombinant VZV gE protein did not interact with heparin or with cell surfaces. We also demonstrated that the gB-HSPGs interactions were relevant to the VZV attachment to cells. Indeed, although polyclonal antibodies directed to gB did not impair the VZV binding, recgB could delay the virus adsorption. Our results thus strongly suggest that the interactions between gB and heparan sulfate proteoglycans take part in the initial VZV attachment to cell surfaces.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Membrane / virology
  • Heparan Sulfate Proteoglycans / metabolism*
  • Herpesvirus 3, Human / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Recombinant Proteins / metabolism
  • Viral Envelope Proteins / metabolism*


  • Heparan Sulfate Proteoglycans
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Viral Envelope Proteins
  • glycoprotein B, varicella-zoster virus