HSV-1 envelope glycoprotein E (gE) is important for viral egress and cell-to-cell spread but the host protein(s) involved in these functions have yet to be determined. We aimed to investigate a role for the Arp2/3 complex and actin regulation in viral egress based on the identification of a WAVE Regulatory Complex (WRC) Interacting Receptor Sequence (WIRS) in the cytoplasmic tail (CT) of gE. A WIRS-dependent interaction between the gE(CT) and subunits of the WRC was demonstrated by GST-pulldown assay and a role for the Arp2/3 complex in cell-to-cell spread was also observed by plaque assay. Subsequent study of a recombinant HSV-1 gE WIRS-mutant found no significant changes to viral production and release based on growth kinetics studies, or changes to plaque and comet size in various cell types, suggesting no function for the motif in cell-to-cell spread. GFP-Trap pulldown and proximity ligation assays were unable to confirm a WIRS-dependent interaction between gE and the WRC in human cell lines though the WIRS-independent interaction observed in situ warrants further study. Confocal microscopy of infected cells of neuronal origin identified no impairment of gE WIRS-mutant HSV-1 anterograde transport along axons. We propose that the identified gE WIRS motif does not function directly in recruitment of the WRC in human cells, in cell-to-cell spread of virus or in anterograde transport along axons. Further studies are needed to understand how HSV-1 manipulates and traverses the actin cytoskeleton and how gE may contribute to these processes in a WIRS-independent manner.
- Arp2/3 complex
- WAVE Regulatory Complex
- WRC Interacting Receptor Sequence
- herpes simplex virus