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Glycoprotein K (gK) is a virion envelope protein of herpes simplex virus types 1 (HSV-1) and 2 (HSV-2), which plays important roles in virion entry, morphogenesis and egress. Two-hybrid and pull-down assays were utilized to demonstrate that gK and no other HSV-1 genes specifically binds to signal peptide peptidase (SPP), also known as minor histocompatibility antigen H13. SPP dominant negative mutants, shRNA against SPP significantly reduced HSV-1 replication in vitro. SPP also affected lysosomes and ER responses to HSV-1 infection. Thus, in this study we have shown for the first time that gK, despite its role in fusion and egress, is also involved in binding the cytoplasmic protein SPP. These results also suggest that SPP plays an important role in viral replication and possibly virus pathogenesis. This makes SPP unique in that its function appears to be required by the virus as no other protein can compensate its loss in terms of viral replication. © 2014 Allen et al.

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