Herpes simplex virus type-1 (HSV-1) induces Fc- and C3b(i)-receptors on infected cells. The role of these receptors in baceterial superinfection was studied by comparing the adherence of non-opsonised and opsonised bacteria to HSV-infected and non-infected HEp-2 cells. A flow cytometric adherence assay, based on the fluorescent quantitation of FITC-labelled bacteria, was developed. Opsonisation of with human serum, resulted in a marked increase in adherence to HSV-infected cells and revealed a role for C3b(i)R- and FcR-mediated adhesion. However, the enhanced adherence never exceeded the level of attachment to non-infected cells. Increased adherence of other pathogenic bacteria, including and was not observed, indicating that the HSV-receptors play a minor role in secondary infections. Bacterial adhesion factors such as the fimbriae of played a more dominant role in the adherence of bacteria to HSV-infected cells.


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