By analogy with glycoprotein H (gH) of herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) and pseudorabies virus (PRV), gH may also be essential for penetration and cell-to-cell spread of bovine herpes-virus 1 (BHV-1). This was verified with a gH-negative BHV-1 mutant (gH-BHV-1), which replicated normally on gH-expressing cells but was unable to form plaques and infectious progeny on non-complementing cells. The block in entry could be overcome by polyethylene glycol-induced membrane fusion, demonstrating that gH is not essential for egress. Propagation of gH-BHV-1 on cell lines expressing wild-type gH or gH(W450), which complements the function of BHV-1 gD for cell-to-cell spread, indicated that gH(W450) is more efficient than wild-type gH in mediating direct spread of BHV-1. This was supported by the plaque sizes induced by rescued gH-BHV-1 that expressed wild-type gH and gH(W450). Infection of cell lines expressing gH of BHV-1, HSV-1 and PRV with gH-BHV-1, HSV-1 and PRV mutants demonstrated that heterologous gH molecules could not complement gH function in penetration or cell-to-cell spread.


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