To study the function of the envelope glycoprotein gH of pseudorabies virus, a gH null mutant was constructed. A premature translation termination codon was introduced in the gH gene by linker insertion mutagenesis, and a mutant virus was rescued by using a cell line that expresses the wild-type protein. Mutant virus isolated from complementing cells was unable to form plaques on noncomplementing cells, indicating that gH is essential in the life cycle of the virus. Immunological staining and electron microscopy showed that the mutant virus produced noninfectious progeny and was unable to spread from infected to uninfected cells by cell-cell fusion. Thus, similar to gH of herpes simplex virus, gH of pseudorabies virus is required for entry and cell-to-cell spread
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