Herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) enters cells either via fusion of the virion envelope and host cell plasma membrane or via endocytosis, depending on the cell type. In the study reported here, we investigated a viral entry pathway dependent on the paired immunoglobulin-like type 2 receptor α (PILRα), a recently identified entry coreceptor for HSV-1 that associates with viral envelope glycoprotein B (gB). Experiments using inhibitors of endocytic pathways and ultrastructural analyses of Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells transduced with PILRα showed that HSV-1 entry into these cells was via virus-cell fusion at the cell surface. Together with earlier observations that HSV-1 uptake into normal CHO cells and those transduced with a receptor for HSV-1 envelope gD is mediated by endocytosis, these results indicated that expression of PILRα produced an alternative HSV-1 entry pathway in CHO cells. We also showed that human and murine PILRα were able to mediate entry of pseudorabies virus, a porcine alphaherpesvirus, but not of HSV-2. These results indicated that viral entry via PILRα appears to be conserved but that there is a PILRα preference among alphaherpesviruses
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