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Herpes simplex viruses (HSVs) cause significant morbidity and mortality in humans worldwide. Herpesviruses mediate entry by a multicomponent virus-encoded machinery. Herpesviruses enter cells by endosomal low-pH and pH-neutral mechanisms in a cell-specific manner. HSV mediates cell entry via the envelope glycoproteins gB and gD and the heterodimer gH/gL regardless of pH or endocytosis requirements. Specifics concerning HSV envelope proteins that function selectively in a given entry pathway have been elusive. Here, we demonstrate that gC regulates cell entry and infection by a low-pH pathway. Conformational changes in the core herpesviral fusogen gB are critical for membrane fusion. The presence of gC conferred a higher pH threshold for acid-induced antigenic changes in gB. Thus, gC may selectively facilitate low-pH entry by regulating conformational changes in the fusion protein gB. We propose that gC modulates the HSV fusion machinery during entry into pathophysiologically relevant cells, such as human epidermal keratinocytes.IMPORTANCE Herpesviruses are ubiquitous pathogens that cause lifelong latent infections and that are characterized by multiple entry pathways. We propose that herpes simplex virus (HSV) gC plays a selective role in modulating HSV entry, such as entry into epithelial cells, by a low-pH pathway. gC facilitates a conformational change of the main fusogen gB, a class III fusion protein. We propose a model whereby gC functions with gB, gD, and gH/gL to allow low-pH entry. In the absence of gC, HSV entry occurs at a lower pH, coincident with trafficking to a lower pH compartment where gB changes occur at more acidic pHs. This report identifies a new function for gC and provides novel insight into the complex mechanism of HSV entry and fusion. Copyright © 2020 Komala Sari et al.


Tri Komala Sari, Katrina A Gianopulos, Darin J Weed, Seth M Schneider, Suzanne M Pritchard, Anthony V Nicola. Herpes Simplex Virus Glycoprotein C Regulates Low-pH Entry. mSphere. 2020 Feb 05;5(1)

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PMID: 32024702

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