Exocytosis of progeny infectious varicella-zoster virus particles via a mannose-6-phosphate receptor pathway without xenophagy following secondary envelopment

James H. Girsch, Wallen Jackson, John E. Carpenter, Thomas O. Moninger, Keith W. Jarosinski, Charles Grose

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The literature on the egress of different herpesviruses after secondary envelopment is contradictory. In this report, we investigated varicella-zoster virus (VZV) egress in a cell line from a child with Pompe disease, a glycogen storage disease caused by a defect in the enzyme required for glycogen digestion. In Pompe cells, both the late autophagy pathway and the mannose-6-phosphate receptor (M6PR) pathway are interrupted. We have postulated that intact autophagic flux is required for higher recoveries of VZV infectivity. To test that hypothesis, we infected Pompe cells and then assessed the VZV infectious cycle. We discovered that the infectious cycle in Pompe cells was remarkably different from that of either fibroblasts or melanoma cells. No large late endosomes filled with VZV particles were observed in Pompe cells; only individual viral particles in small vacuoles were seen. The distribution of the M6PR pathway (trans-Golgi network to late endosomes) was constrained in infected Pompe cells. When cells were analyzed with two different antiM6PR antibodies, extensive colocalization of the major VZV glycoprotein gE (known to contain M6P residues) and the M6P receptor (M6PR) was documented in the viral highways at the surfaces of non-Pompe cells after maximum-intensity projection of confocal z-stacks, but neither gE nor the M6PR was seen in abundance at the surfaces of infected Pompe cells. Taken together, our results suggested that (i) Pompe cells lack a VZV trafficking pathway within M6PR-positive large endosomes and (ii) most infectious VZV particles in conventional cell substrates are transported via large M6PR-positive vacuoles without degradative xenophagy to the plasma membrane. IMPORTANCE The long-term goal of this research has been to determine why VZV, when grown in cultured cells, invariably is more cell associated and has a lower titer than other alphaherpesviruses, such as herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV1) or pseudorabies virus (PRV). Data from both HSV1 and PRV laboratories have identified a Rab6 secretory pathway for the transport of single enveloped viral particles from the trans-Golgi network within small vacuoles to the plasma membrane. In contrast, after secondary envelopment in fibroblasts or melanoma cells, multiple infectious VZV particles accumulated within large M6PR-positive late endosomes that were not degraded en route to the plasma membrane. We propose that this M6PR pathway is most utilized in VZV infection and least utilized in HSV1 infection, with PRV’s usage being closer to HSV1’s usage. Supportive data from other VZV, PRV, and HSV1 laboratories about evidence for two egress pathways are included.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere01227-20
JournalJournal of virology
Issue number16
StatePublished - Aug 1 2020


  • Autophagosome
  • Herpes simplex virus
  • Imaris
  • LAMP1
  • Pompe disease
  • Pseudorabies virus
  • Rab6

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Insect Science
  • Virology


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