Resolving the assembly state of herpes simplex virus during axon transport by live-cell imaging

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67 Scopus citations


Neurotropic herpesviruses depend on long-distance axon transport for the initial establishment of latency in peripheral ganglia (retrograde transport) and for viral spread in axons to exposed body surfaces following reactivation (anterograde transport). Images of neurons infected with herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1), acquired using electron microscopy, have led to a debate regarding why different types of viral structures are seen in axons and which of these particles are relevant to the axon transport process. In this study, we applied time-lapse fluorescence microscopy to image HSV-1 virion components actively translocating to distal axons in primary neurons and neuronal cell lines. Key to these findings, only a small fraction of viral particles were engaged in anterograde transport during the egress phase of infection at any given time. By selective analysis of the composition of the subpopulation of actively transporting capsids, a link between transport of fully assembled HSV-1 virions and the neuronal secretory pathway was identified. Last, we have evaluated the seemingly opposing findings made in previous studies of HSV-1 axon transport in fixed cells and demonstrate a limitation to assessing the composition of individual HSV-1 particles using antibody detection methods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13019-13030
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of virology
Issue number24
StatePublished - Dec 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Insect Science
  • Virology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology


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