Herpes simplex virus (HSV) entry into cells requires binding of the envelope glycoprotein D (gD) to one of several cell surface receptors. The 50 C-terminal residues of the gD ectodomain are essential for virus entry, but not for receptor binding. We have determined the structure of an unliganded gD molecule that includes these C-terminal residues. The structure reveals that the C-terminus is anchored near the N-terminal region and masks receptor-binding sites. Locking the C-terminus in the position observed in the crystals by an intramolecular disulfide bond abolished receptor binding and virus entry, demonstrating that this region of gD moves upon receptor binding. Similarly, a point mutant that would destabilize the C-terminus structure was nonfunctional for entry, despite increased affinity for receptors. We propose that a controlled displacement of the gD C-terminus upon receptor binding is an essential feature of HSV entry, ensuring the timely activation of membrane fusion.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)