Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) and HSV-2 plaque production was inhibited by treating cells with soluble forms of HSV-1 glycoprotein D (gD-1t) and HSV-2 glycoprotein D (gD-2t). Both glycoproteins inhibited entry of HSV-1 and HSV-2 without affecting virus adsorption. In contrast, a soluble form of HSV-2 glycoprotein B had no effect on virus entry into cells. Specific binding of gD-1t and gD-2t to cells was saturable, and approximately 4 x 10(5) to 5 x 10(5) molecules bound per cell. Binding of gD-1t was markedly reduced by treating cells with certain proteases but was unaffected when cell surface heparan sulfate glycosaminoglycans were enzymatically removed or when the binding was carried out in the presence of heparin. Together, these results suggest that gD binds to a limited set of cell surface receptors which may be proteins and that these interactions are essential for subsequent virus entry into cells. However, binding of gD to its receptors is not required for the initial adsorption of virus to the cell surface, which involves more numerous sites (probably including heparan sulfate) than those which mediate gD binding
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