The alphaherpesvirus envelope protein Us9 is a type II viral membrane protein that is required for anterograde spread of bovine herpesvirus 5 (BHV-5) infection from the olfactory receptor neurons to the brain. In a rabbit seizure model, Us9-deleted BHV-5 failed to invade the central nervous system (CNS) following intranasal infection. However, when injected directly into the olfactory bulb, retrograde-spread infection from the olfactory bulb (OB) to the piriform cortex and other areas connected to the OB was not affected. In contrast to BHV-5, wild-type BHV-1 failed to invade the CNS following intranasal infection. In this study, we show that mature BHV-1 Us9 is a 30- to 32-kDa protein, whereas mature BHV-5 Us9 is an 18- to 20-kDa protein. In vitro, BHV-1 Us9 is expressed at 3 h postinfection (hpi), whereas BHV-5 Us9 is expressed at 6 hpi. Despite these differences, BHV-1 Us9 not only complemented for BHV-5 Us9 and rescued the anterograde-spread defect of the BHV-5 Us9-deleted virus but conferred increased neurovirulence and neuroinvasiveness in our rabbit seizure model. Rabbits infected with BHV-5 expressing BHV-1 Us9 showed severe neurological signs at 5 days postinfection, which was 1 to 2 days earlier than BHV-5 wild-type or Us9-reverted BHV-5 virus. The data underscore the importance of both Us9 genes for virion anterograde transport and neuroinvasiveness. However, Us9 is not the determinant of the differential neuropathogenesis of BHV-1 and BHV-5.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science