Infection with herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) induces different morphological changes in different cell lines. This is demonstrated by comparative scanning (SEM and transmission (TEM) electron microscopic investigations of cell cultures prepared under identical conditions. SEM of HSV-1 infected HEp-2 cells reveals a slightly altered cell surface: only the number of the microvilli is reduced. Large amounts of released virions are detectable adhering to the outer plasma membrane. Ultra-thin sections show typical virus maturation steps in the nuclei (formation of nucleocapsids and virus budding from the inner lamella of the nuclear membrane) and in the cytoplasm (egress of enveloped nucleocapsids through membranous structures). HSV-infected primary chick embryo fibroblast (CEF) cells are characterized by crumpled and rough surfaces without virus particles adhering to the membrane. Ultra-thin sections exhibit atypical virus maturation with many unenveloped nucleocapsids within the cytoplasm. The distribution of HSV-induced antigen(s) on the surface of the infected cells is identical in the two cell systems as determined by the peroxidase labelling technique. The c.p.e. (as seen by phase contrast light microscopy) is similar in both HEp-2 and CEF cells: both fusion and rounding up is induced in the infected cells.


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