Role of microvesicles in the spread of herpes simplex virus 1 in oligodendrocytic cells

Raquel Bello-Morales, Beatriz Praena, Carmen de la Nuez, María Teresa Rejas, Milagros Guerra, Marcos Galán-Ganga, Manuel Izquierdo, Víctor Calvo, Claude Krummenacher, José Antonio López-Guerrero

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45 Scopus citations


Herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) is a neurotropic pathogen that can infect many types of cells and establishes latent infections in the neurons of sensory ganglia. In some cases, the virus spreads into the central nervous system, causing encephalitis or meningitis. Cells infected with several different types of viruses may secrete microvesicles (MVs) containing viral proteins and RNAs. In some instances, extracellular microvesicles harboring infectious virus have been found. Here we describe the features of shedding microvesicles released by the human oligodendroglial HOG cell line infected with HSV-1 and their participation in the viral cycle. Using transmission electron microscopy, we detected for the first time microvesicles containing HSV-1 virions. Interestingly, the Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cell line, which is resistant to infection by free HSV-1 virions, was susceptible to HSV-1 infection after being exposed to virus-containing microvesicles. Therefore, our results indicate for the first time that MVs released by infected cells contain virions, are endocytosed by naive cells, and lead to a productive infection. Furthermore, infection of CHO cells was not completely neutralized when virus-containing microvesicles were preincubated with neutralizing anti-HSV-1 antibodies. The lack of complete neutralization and the ability of MVs to infect nectin-1/HVEM-negative CHO-K1 cells suggest a novel way for HSV-1 to spread to and enter target cells. Taken together, our results suggest that HSV-1 could spread through microvesicles to expand its tropism and that microvesicles could shield the virus from neutralizing antibodies as a possible mechanism to escape the host immune response.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere000088-18
JournalJournal of virology
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 1 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Insect Science
  • Virology


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