The initial velocity of thymidine uptake was measured in HeLa S3 cells infected with herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1). The rate of nucleoside influx into the cells was shown to increase from as early as 1 h post-infection (p.i.) up to 8 h p.i. This increased uptake was shown to be attributable to a progressively increasing contribution from passive diffusion superimposed upon normal transport. Thus, the specific nucleoside transport system was still operating with unaltered kinetic parameters 8 h after infection. Despite the inhibition of host cell protein synthesis and its replacement by the synthesis of virus-specified proteins, the numbers and affinity of the nucleoside transporters in cells 8 h after infection were virtually unchanged. The increased transport of thymidine in infected cultures was resistant to the nucleoside transport inhibitor dipyridamole, and was correlated with entry of a normally impermeant solute (sucrose) into infected cells. These data suggest that the system for the carrier-mediated facilitated diffusion of nucleosides remains intact in HSV-infected cells, but that progressively increasing passive diffusion takes place. Passive diffusion is the major process operating late after virus infection.


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