Functional carboxy-terminal fluorescent protein fusion to pseudorabies virus small capsid protein VP26

Ian B. Hogue, Jolie Jean, Andrew D. Esteves, Nikhila S. Tanneti, Julian Scherer, Lynn W. Enquist

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Fluorescent protein fusions to herpesvirus capsids have proven to be a valuable method to study virus particle transport in living cells. Fluorescent protein fusions to the amino terminus of small capsid protein VP26 are the most widely used method to visualize pseudorabies virus (PRV) and herpes simplex virus (HSV) particles in living cells. However, these fusion proteins do not incorporate to full occupancy and have modest effects on virus replication and pathogenesis. Recent cryoelectron microscopy studies have revealed that herpesvirus small capsid proteins bind to capsids via their amino terminus, whereas the carboxy terminus is unstructured and therefore may better tolerate fluorescent protein fusions. Here, we describe a new recombinant PRV expressing a carboxy-terminal VP26-mCherry fusion. Compared to previously characterized viruses expressing amino-terminal fusions, this virus expresses more VP26 fusion protein in infected cells and incorporates more VP26 fusion protein into virus particles, and individual virus particles exhibit brighter red fluorescence. We performed single-particle tracking of fluorescent virus particles in primary neurons to measure anterograde and retrograde axonal transport, demonstrating the usefulness of this novel VP26-mCherry fusion for the study of viral intracellular transport.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere01193-17
JournalJournal of virology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Insect Science
  • Virology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology


  • Fluorescence
  • Fluorescent image analysis
  • Fluorescent protein
  • Herpes simplex virus
  • Herpesviruses
  • Neuron
  • Neurotropic viruses
  • Neurovirulence
  • Pseudorabies virus
  • video microscopy


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