PloS one

An important role for syndecan-1 in herpes simplex virus type-1 induced cell-to-cell fusion and virus spread.

PMID 21957484


Herpes simplex virus type-1 (HSV-1) is a common human pathogen that relies heavily on cell-to-cell spread for establishing a lifelong latent infection. Molecular aspects of HSV-1 entry into host cells have been well studied; however, the molecular details of the spread of the virus from cell-to-cell remain poorly understood. In the past, the role of heparan sulfate proteoglycans (HSPG) during HSV-1 infection has focused solely on the role of HS chains as an attachment receptor for the virus, while the core protein has been assumed to perform a passive role of only carrying the HS chains. Likewise, very little is known about the involvement of any specific HSPGs in HSV-1 lifecycle. Here we demonstrate that a HSPG, syndecan-1, plays an important role in HSV-1 induced membrane fusion and cell-to-cell spread. Interestingly, the functions of syndecan-1 in fusion and spread are independent of the presence of HS on the core protein. Using a mutant CHO-K1 cell line that lacks all glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) on its surface (CHO-745) we demonstrate that the core protein of syndecan-1 possesses the ability to modulate membrane fusion and viral spread. Altogether, we identify a new role for syndecan-1 in HSV-1 pathogenesis and demonstrate HS-independent functions of its core protein in viral spread.