Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) is a large DNA virus that infects the majority of the world population. HSV-1 causes the common cold sore, but can also lead to corneal blindness and fatal encephalopathy. Initially the virus transports to, and replicates in the nucleus before progeny virions travel to the cell surface to spread to neighboring cells. Projects in our lab are focused on how HSV-1 exploits host signaling pathways and specialized microtubule regulatory proteins, called +TIPs, to facilitate virus movement within the cell at various stages of the viral lifecycle. To date, we have found that HSV-1 encodes a kinase that targets a family of +TIPs called Cytoplasmic Linker-associated proteins (CLASPs) that nucleate microtubules at the trans-golgi network and facilitate the spread of new virus.
A +TIP called EB1 (green) localized to the growing ends of dynamic microtubules (red) in primiary human celled infected with HSV-1. Dynamic microtubules (red), the trans-golgi network (green) and the nucleus (blue). Stable microtubules (green), the trans-golgi network (red), and the nucleus (blue).