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Glycoprotein B (gB) is a key component of the complex herpesvirus fusion machinery. We studied membrane interaction of two gB ectodomain forms and present an electron cryotomography structure of the gB-bilayer complex. The two forms differed in presence or absence of the membrane proximal region (MPR) but showed an overall similar trimeric shape. The presence of the MPR impeded interaction with liposomes. In contrast, the MPR-lacking form interacted efficiently with liposomes. Lateral interaction resulted in coat formation on the membranes. The structure revealed that interaction of gB with membranes was mediated by the fusion loops and limited to the outer membrane leaflet. The observed intrinsic propensity of gB to cluster on membranes indicates an additional role of gB in driving the fusion process forward beyond the transient fusion pore opening and subsequently leading to fusion pore expansion.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





1396 - 1405


Cells, Cultured, Cryoelectron Microscopy, Crystallography, X-Ray, Herpesvirus 1, Human, Humans, Lipid Bilayers, Liposomes, Models, Molecular, Protein Binding, Protein Interaction Domains and Motifs, Protein Structure, Quaternary, Viral Envelope Proteins, Virus Attachment