Sodium (Na) and potassium (K) flux in African green monkey kidney cells (Vero) was examined following infection by herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1). A decline in the rate of K uptake at 5 h post-infection was shown using Rb as a K tracer. In contrast, host protein synthesis was inhibited by 3 h post-infection. The decrease in rate of K transport to levels 70 to 90% of that of mock-infected cells did not, however, reflect an inability of HSV-1-infected cells to maintain normal intracellular concentrations of Na and K. At 7 h post-infection, intracellular Na and K concentrations were determined to be 26.6 ± 9.4 m- and 33.3 ± 10.3 m-Na and 130.1 ± 4.7 m- and 137.1 ± 3.2 m-K in mock-infected and HSV-1-infected cells respectively. Intracellular Na did not increase above control levels over at least a 9 h period following HSV-1 infection. The Michaelis constant ( ) of K transport in HSV-1-infected or mock-infected Vero cells at 6 h post-infection was determined to be the same with calculated values of 1.38 ± 0.51 m and 1.79 ± 0.42 m respectively. A virus-induced alteration of intracellular Na and K concentrations cannot, therefore, account for the HSV-1-induced inhibition of host protein synthesis at 3 h post-infection as has been suggested in other virus systems.

Keyword(s): HSV , K+ ATPase , membrane , monovalent cations and Na+

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