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Viruses 2013, 5(2), 678-707; doi:10.3390/v5020678

Directional Spread of Alphaherpesviruses in the Nervous System

Princeton University, Department of Molecular Biology, Princeton, NJ 08544, USA
Children's Hospital Boston and Harvard Medical School, F.M. Kirby Neurobiology Center, Boston, MA 02115, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 3 January 2013 / Revised: 4 February 2013 / Accepted: 5 February 2013 / Published: 11 February 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Viral Infections of the CNS)
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Alphaherpesviruses are pathogens that invade the nervous systems of their mammalian hosts. Directional spread of infection in the nervous system is a key component of the viral lifecycle and is critical for the onset of alphaherpesvirus-related diseases. Many alphaherpesvirus infections originate at peripheral sites, such as epithelial tissues, and then enter neurons of the peripheral nervous system (PNS), where lifelong latency is established. Following reactivation from latency and assembly of new viral particles, the infection typically spreads back out towards the periphery. These spread events result in the characteristic lesions (cold sores) commonly associated with herpes simplex virus (HSV) and herpes zoster (shingles) associated with varicella zoster virus (VZV). Occasionally, the infection spreads transsynaptically from the PNS into higher order neurons of the central nervous system (CNS). Spread of infection into the CNS, while rarer in natural hosts, often results in severe consequences, including death. In this review, we discuss the viral and cellular mechanisms that govern directional spread of infection in the nervous system. We focus on the molecular events that mediate long distance directional transport of viral particles in neurons during entry and egress. View Full-Text
Keywords: alphaherpesvirus; herpes simplex virus; pseudorabies virus; axonal transport; directional spread; cytoskeleton alphaherpesvirus; herpes simplex virus; pseudorabies virus; axonal transport; directional spread; cytoskeleton

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Kramer, T.; Enquist, L.W. Directional Spread of Alphaherpesviruses in the Nervous System. Viruses 2013, 5, 678-707.

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