Varicella-zoster virus (VZV) glycoprotein E (gE) is a multifunctional protein important for cell-cell spread, envelopment, and possibly entry. In contrast to other alphaherpesviruses, gE is essential for VZV replication. Interestingly, the N-terminal region of gE, comprised of amino acids 1 to 188, was shown not to be conserved in the other alphaherpesviruses by bioinformatics analysis. Mutational analysis was performed to investigate the functions associated with this unique gE N-terminal region. Linker insertions, serine-to-alanine mutations, and deletions were introduced in the gE N-terminal region in the VZV genome, and the effects of these mutations on virus replication and cell-cell spread, gE trafficking and localization, virion formation, and replication in vivo in the skin were analyzed. In summary, mutagenesis of the gE N-terminal region identified a new functional region in the VZV gE ectodomain essential for cell-cell spread and the pathogenesis of VZV skin tropism and demonstrated that different subdomains of the unique N-terminal region had specific roles in viral replication, cell-cell spread, and secondary envelopment.
View details for DOI 10.1128/JVI.00533-06
View details for Web of Science ID 000240647200013
View details for PubMedID 16973553