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Mildly Acidic pH Triggers an Irreversible Conformational Change in the Fusion Domain of Herpes Simplex Virus 1 Glycoprotein B and Inactivation of Viral Entry.


ABSTRACT: Herpes simplex virus (HSV) entry into a subset of cells requires endocytosis and endosomal low pH. Preexposure of isolated virions to mildly acidic pH of 5 to 6 partially inactivates HSV infectivity in an irreversible manner. Acid inactivation is a hallmark of viruses that enter via low-pH pathways; this occurs by pretriggering conformational changes essential for fusion. The target and mechanism(s) of low-pH inactivation of HSV are unclear. Here, low-pH-treated HSV-1 was defective in fusion activity and yet retained normal levels of attachment to cell surface heparan sulfate and binding to nectin-1 receptor. Low-pH-triggered conformational changes in gB reported to date are reversible, despite irreversible low-pH inactivation. gB conformational changes and their reversibility were measured by antigenic analysis with a panel of monoclonal antibodies and by detecting changes in oligomeric conformation. Three-hour treatment of HSV-1 virions with pH 5 or multiple sequential treatments at pH 5 followed by neutral pH caused an irreversible >2.5 log infectivity reduction. While changes in several gB antigenic sites were reversible, alteration of the H126 epitope was irreversible. gB oligomeric conformational change remained reversible under all conditions tested. Altogether, our results reveal that oligomeric alterations and fusion domain changes represent distinct conformational changes in gB, and the latter correlates with irreversible low-pH inactivation of HSV. We propose that conformational change in the gB fusion domain is important for activation of membrane fusion during viral entry and that in the absence of a host target membrane, this change results in irreversible inactivation of virions.IMPORTANCE HSV-1 is an important pathogen with a high seroprevalence throughout the human population. HSV infects cells via multiple pathways, including a low-pH route into epithelial cells, the primary portal into the host. HSV is inactivated by low-pH preexposure, and gB, a class III fusion protein, undergoes reversible conformational changes in response to low-pH exposure. Here, we show that low-pH inactivation of HSV is irreversible and due to a defect in virion fusion activity. We identified an irreversible change in the fusion domain of gB following multiple sequential low-pH exposures or following prolonged low-pH treatment. This change appears to be separable from the alteration in gB quaternary structure. Together, the results are consistent with a model by which low pH can have an activating or inactivating effect on HSV depending on the presence of a target membrane.

SUBMITTER: Weed DJ 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC5309949 | BioStudies | 2017-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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