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Visualizing virus-host interactions in situ inside infected cells by electron cryo-tomography provides unperturbed snapshots of the infection process. Here we focus on the assembly and egress pathway of herpesviruses. Cells infected with herpes simplex virus 1 produce and release not only infective virions but also non-infectious light particles (L-particles). L-particles are devoid of viral capsids and genomes. In this study, we analysed L-particle assembly and egress pathways in cultured dissociated hippocampus neurones by electron cryo-tomography. Virion and L-particle formation occurred in close proximity, suggesting shared assembly and exit pathways. Clathrin-like coats were occasionally associated with L-particle and virion assembly sites. Further, we compared the three-dimensional ultrastructure of intracellular and extracellular L-particles and quantified their diameters and the abundance of inclusion bodies contained.

Original publication




Journal article


Cell Microbiol

Publication Date





285 - 291


Adaptor Proteins, Vesicular Transport, Animals, Cercopithecus aethiops, Cryoelectron Microscopy, Electron Microscope Tomography, Herpesvirus 1, Human, Hippocampus, Host-Pathogen Interactions, Humans, Inclusion Bodies, Molecular Mimicry, Neurons, Particle Size, Rats, Vero Cells, Viral Proteins, Virion, Virus Assembly, Virus Release, Virus Replication