Assembly and egress of an alphaherpesvirus clockwork

Gregory A. Smith*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

16 Scopus citations


All viruses produce infectious particles that possess some degree of stability in the extracellular environment yet disassemble upon cell contact and entry. For the alphaherpesviruses, which include many neuroinvasive viruses of mammals, these metastable virions consist of an icosahedral capsid surrounded by a protein matrix (referred to as the tegument) and a lipid envelope studded with glycoproteins. Whereas the capsid of these viruses is a rigid structure encasing the DNA genome, the tegument and envelope are dynamic assemblies that orchestrate a sequential series of events that ends with the delivery of the genome into the nucleus. These particles are adapted to infect two different polarized cell types in their hosts: epithelial cells and neurons of the peripheral nervous system. This review considers how the virion is assembled into a primed state and is targeted to infect these cell types such that the incoming particles can subsequently negotiate the diverse environments they encounter on their way from plasma membrane to nucleus and thereby achieve their remarkably robust neuroinvasive infectious cycle.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAdvances in Anatomy Embryology and Cell Biology
PublisherSpringer Verlag
Number of pages23
StatePublished - 2017

Publication series

NameAdvances in Anatomy Embryology and Cell Biology
ISSN (Print)0301-5556

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Cell Biology
  • Embryology
  • Developmental Biology


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