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Journal of Virology




Myelin and lymphocyte protein (MAL) is a tetraspan integral membrane protein that resides in detergent-insoluble membrane fractions enriched in condensed membranes. MAL is expressed in oligodendrocytes, in Schwann cells, where it is essential for the stability of myelin, and at the apical membrane of epithelial cells, where it has a critical role in transport. In T lymphocytes, MAL is found at the immunological synapse and plays a crucial role in exosome secretion. However, no involvement of MAL in viral infections has been reported so far. Here, we show that herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) virions travel in association with MAL-positive structures to reach the end of cellular processes, which contact uninfected oligodendrocytes. Importantly, the depletion of MAL led to a significant decrease in infection, with a drastic reduction in the number of lytic plaques in MAL-silenced cells. These results suggest a significant role for MAL in viral spread at cell contacts. The participation of MAL in the cell-to-cell spread of HSV-1 may shed light on the involvement of proteolipids in this process.


© 2020 López-Guerrero et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.