Pseudorabies virus (PRV) mutants lacking the Us9 gene cannot spread from presynaptic to postsynaptic neurons in the rat visual system, although retrograde spread remains unaffected. We sought to recapitulate these findings in vitro using the isolator chamber system developed in our lab for analysis of the transneuronal spread of infection. The wild-type PRV Becker strain spreads efficiently to postsynaptic neurons in vitro, whereas the Us9-null strain does not. As determined by indirect immunofluorescence, the axons of Us9-null infected neurons do not contain the glycoproteins gB and gE, suggesting that their axonal sorting is dependent on Us9. Importantly, we failed to detect viral capsids in the axons of Us9-null infected neurons. We confirmed this observation by using three different techniques: by direct fluorescence of green fluorescent protein-tagged capsids; by transmission electron microscopy; and by live-cell imaging in cultured, sympathetic neurons. This finding has broad impact on two competing models for how virus particles are trafficked inside axons during anterograde transport and redefines a role for Us9 in viral sorting and transport.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Insect Science