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Herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) viral glycoproteins gD (carboxyl terminus), gE, gK, and gM, the membrane protein UL20, and membrane-associated protein UL11 play important roles in cytoplasmic virion envelopment and egress from infected cells. We showed previously that a recombinant virus carrying a deletion of the carboxyl-terminal 29 amino acids of gD (gDΔct) and the entire gE gene (ΔgE) did not exhibit substantial defects in cytoplasmic virion envelopment and egress (H. C. Lee et al., J. Virol. 83:6115-6124, 2009). The recombinant virus ΔgM2, engineered not to express gM, produced a 3-to 4-fold decrease in viral titers and a 50% reduction in average plaque sizes in comparison to the HSV-1(F) parental virus. The recombinant virus containing all three mutations, gDΔct-ΔgM2-ΔgE, replicated approximately 1 log unit less efficiently than the HSV-1(F) parental virus and produced viral plaques which were on average one-third the size of those of HSV-1(F). The recombinant virus ΔUL11-ΔgM2, engineered not to express either UL11 or gM, replicated more than 1 log unit less efficiently and produced significantly smaller plaques than UL11-null or gM-null viruses alone, in agreement with the results of Leege et al. (T. Leege et al., J. Virol. 83:896-907, 2009). Analyses of particle-to-PFU ratios, relative plaque size, and kinetics of virus growth and ultrastructural visualization of glycoprotein-deficient mutant and wild-type virions indicate that gDΔct, gE, and gM function in a cooperative but not redundant manner in infectious virion morphogenesis. Overall, comparisons of single, double, and triple mutant viruses generated in the same HSV-1(F) genetic background indicated that lack of either UL20 or gK expression caused the most severe defects in cytoplasmic envelopment, egress, and infectious virus production, followed by the double deletion of UL11 and gM. © 2012, American Society for Microbiology.

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Journal of Virology

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