Enveloped viruses encode proteins that can induce cell fusion to allow spread of infection without exposure to immune surveillance. In this review, we discuss cell fusion events caused by neurotropic α-herpesviruses. Syncytia (large, multinucleated cells) are clinically indicative of α herpesvirus infections, and peripheral neuropathies are clinical hallmarks. We examine the viral and cellular factors required for cell fusion, as well as mutations which confer a more aggressive 'hypersyncytial' phenotype. Finally, we consider the causes of fusion events in infected neurons, and the implications for neuronal dysfunction and pathophysiology.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- membrane fusion
- α herpesvirus