Herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) is transmitted through the genital mucosa during sexual encounters. In recent years, HSV-1 has also become commonly associated with primary genital herpes. The mechanism of viral entry of HSV-1 and HSV-2 in the female genital tract is unknown. In order to understand the molecular interactions required for HSV entry into the vaginal epithelium, we examined the expression of herpesvirus entry mediator nectin-1 in the vagina of human and mouse at different stages of their hormonal cycle. Nectin-1 was highly expressed in the epithelium of human vagina throughout the menstrual cycle, whereas the mouse vaginal epithelium expressed nectin-1 only during the stages of the estrous cycle in which mice are susceptible to vaginal HSV infection. Furthermore, the ability of nectin-1 to mediate viral entry following intravaginal inoculation was examined in a mouse model of genital herpes. Vaginal infection with either HSV-1 or HSV-2 was blocked by preincubation of the virus with soluble recombinant nectin-1. Viral entry through the vaginal mucosa was also inhibited by preincubation of HSV-2 with antibody against gD. Together, these results suggest the importance of nectin-1 in mediating viral entry for both HSV-1 and HSV-2 in the genital mucosa in female hosts.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Insect Science