Author(s): Bultmann H, Busse JS, Brandt CR. Modified FGF4 signal peptide inhibits entry of herpes simplex virus type 1. J Virol. 2001 Mar;75(6):2634-45. PMID 11222686
Journal: Journal Of Virology, Volume 75, Issue 6, Mar 2001
Entry of herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) into host cells occurs through fusion of the viral envelope with the plasma membrane and involves complex and poorly understood interactions between several viral and cellular proteins. One strategy for dissecting the function of this fusion machine is through the use of specific inhibitors. We identified a peptide with antiviral activity that blocks HSV-1 infection at the entry stage and during cell-to-cell spreading. This peptide (called EB for “entry blocker”) consists of the FGF4 signal sequence with an RRKK tetramer at the amino terminus to improve solubility. The activity of EB depends exclusively but not canonically on the signal sequence. Inhibition of virus entry (hrR3) and plaque formation (KOS) strongly depend on virus concentrations and serum addition, with 50% inhibitory concentrations typically ranging from 1 to 10 microM. Blocking preadsorbed virus requires higher EB concentrations. Cytotoxic effects (trypan blue exclusion) are first noted at 50 microM EB in serum-free medium and at > or = 200 microM in the presence of serum. EB does not affect gC-dependent mechanisms of virus attachment and does not block virus attachment at 4 degrees C. Instead, EB directly interacts with virions and inactivates them irreversibly without, however, disrupting their physical integrity as judged by electron microscopy. At subvirucidal concentrations, EB changes the adhesive properties of virions, causing aggregation at high virus concentrations. This peptide may be a useful tool for studying viral entry mechanisms.