Epstein-Barr virus fusion with epithelial cells triggered by gB is restricted by a gL glycosylation site

Britta S. Möhl, Jia Chen, Seo Jin Park, Theodore S. Jardetzky, Richard Longnecker*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) entry into epithelial cells is mediated by the conserved core fusion machinery, composed of the fusogen gB and the receptorbinding complex gH/gL. The heterodimeric gH/gL complex binds to the EBV epithelial cell receptor or gp42, which binds to the B-cell receptor, triggering gB-mediated fusion of the virion envelope with cellular membranes. Our previous study found that the gL glycosylation mutant N69L/S71V had an epithelial cell-specific hyperfusogenic phenotype. To study the influence of this gL mutant on the initiation and kinetics of gB-driven epithelial cell fusion, we established a virus-free split-green fluorescent protein cell-cell fusion assay that enables real-time measurements of membrane fusion using live cells. The gL_N69L/S71V mutant had a large increase in epithelial cell fusion activity of up to 300% greater than that of wild-type gL starting at early time points. The hyperfusogenicity of the gL mutant was not a result of alterations in complex formation with gH or alterations in cellular localization. Moreover, the hyperfusogenic phenotype of the gL mutant correlated with the formation of enlarged syncytia. In summary, our present findings highlight an important role of gL in the kinetics of gB-mediated epithelial cell fusion, adding to previous findings indicating a direct interaction between gL and gB in EBV membrane fusion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere01255-17
JournalJournal of virology
Issue number23
StatePublished - Dec 1 2017


  • Epstein-Barr virus
  • GB
  • GH/gL
  • Herpesvirus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Insect Science
  • Virology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology


Dive into the research topics of 'Epstein-Barr virus fusion with epithelial cells triggered by gB is restricted by a gL glycosylation site'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this