2016 Volume 39 Issue 11 Pages 1897-1902
Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) is a causative agent for a variety of diseases. Although antiherpetic drugs such as acyclovir have been developed to inhibit virus replication through interaction with DNA kinases, their continuous administration leads to an increase in the frequency of drug-resistant HSV-1, which is an important clinical issue that requires urgent solution. Recently, we reported that the sialylated O-linked sugar T antigen (sTn) and its attached peptide region (O-glycosylated sTn peptide) derived from the HSV-1 glycoprotein B (gB) protein inhibited HSV-1 infection by specifically targeting paired immunoglobulin-like type 2 receptor alpha (PILRα) in vitro. In this study, to further identify novel inhibitors of gB-mediated HSV-1 infection in vitro, we established a cell-based fusion assay for rapid drug screening. Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells were transfected with expression plasmids for HSV-1 gB, gD, gH, and gL, and T7 RNA polymerase, and were designated as the effector cells. The CHO-K1 cells stably expressing PILRα were transfected with the expression plasmid for firefly luciferase under the T7 promoter, and were designated as the target cells. The effector and target cells were co-cultured, and luminescence was measured when both cells were successfully fused. Importantly, we found that cell-to-cell fusion was specifically inhibited by O-glycosylated sTn peptide in a dose dependent manner. Our results suggested that this virus-free cell-based fusion assay system could be a useful and promising approach to identify novel inhibitors of gB-mediated HSV-1 infection, and will aid in the development of antiviral therapeutic strategies for HSV-1-associated diseases.