Herpes simplex virus (HSV) types 1 and 2 were shown to replicate in a newly described human cell line (Meg) derived from the peripheral blood of a healthy volunteer. The cell line has both megakaryocyte-like and B cell-like properties. Upon infection with HSV-1 or -2, at a m.o.i. between 0.5 and 5, unlike B and T cells, the Meg cells were growth-arrested and this was accompanied by cytopathic effects and virus replication. The HSV proteins and glycoproteins B and D (gB and gD) made in the blood-derived Meg cells were compared to the corresponding proteins made in the non-blood-derived cell lines, Vero (African green monkey kidney cell) and HEp-2 (human epidermoid carcinoma cell). The maximum level of HSV protein synthesis occurred earlier in the Meg cells than in the Vero and HEp-2 cells. The electrophoretic pattern of HSV-1 and -2 proteins made in the Meg cell line was similar to the corresponding proteins made in the Vero and HEp-2 cell lines; however, some qualitative and quantitative differences were evident. There were no apparent differences detected in the migration pattern of gB made in all three cell lines while significant differences were observed with the gD species. However, upon hydrolysis with V-8 protease of the monoclonal antibody-purified gB and gD, distinct differences were observed in the electrophoretic pattern of the generated peptide fragments of both gB and gD made in the three cell lines. The results demonstrate that a human blood cell can support HSV replication and that species-specific post-translational modification of gB and gD occurs in HSV-infected Vero cells as compared to HSV-infected human cells.


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