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Final envelopment of the cytoplasmic herpes simplex virus Hype 1 (HSV-1) nucleocapsid is thought to occur by budding into trans-Golgi network (TGN)-derived membranes. The highly membrane-associated proteins UL20p and glycoprotein K (gK) are required for cytoplasmic envelopment at the TGN and virion transport from the TGN to extracellular spaces. Furthermore, the UL20 protein is required for intracellular transport and cell surface expression of gK. Independently expressed gK or UL20p via transient expression in Vero cells failed to be transported from the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). Similarly, infection of Vero cells with either gK-null or UL20-null viruses resulted in ER entrapment of UL20p or gK, respectively. In HSV-1 wild-type virus infections and to a lesser extent in transient gK and UL20p coexpression experiments, both gK and UL20p localized to the Golgi apparatus. In wild-type, but not UL20-null, viral infections, gK was readily detected on cell surfaces. In contrast, transiently coexpressed gK and UL20p predominantly localized to the TGN and were not readily detected on cell surfaces. However, TGN-localized gK and UL20p originated from endocytosed gK and UL20p expressed at cell surfaces. Retention of UL20p to the ER through the addition of an ER retention motif forced total ER retention of gK, indicating that transport of gK is absolutely dependent on UL20p transport. In all experiments, gK and UL20p colocalized at intracellular sites, including the ER, Golgi, and TGN. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that gK and UL20p directly interact and that this interaction facilitates their TGN localization, an important prerequisite for cytoplasmic virion envelopment and egress.

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Journal of Virology

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