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Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 785158, 14 pages
Research Article

Mutation of Herpesvirus Saimiri ORF51 Glycoprotein Specifically Targets Infectivity to Hepatocellular Carcinoma Cell Lines

1Institute of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Faculty of Biological Sciences, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT, UK
2Astbury Centre for Structural Molecular Biology, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT, UK

Received 18 June 2010; Revised 14 October 2010; Accepted 14 October 2010

Academic Editor: Michael J. Spinella

Copyright © 2011 Susan J. Turrell and Adrian Whitehouse. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Herpesvirus saimiri (HVS) is a gamma herpesvirus with several properties that make it an amenable gene therapy vector; namely its large packaging capacity, its ability to persist as a nonintegrated episome, and its ability to infect numerous human cell types. We used RecA-mediated recombination to develop an HVS vector with a mutated virion protein. The heparan sulphate-binding region of HVS ORF51 was substituted for a peptide sequence which interacts with somatostatin receptors (SSTRs), overexpressed on hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cells. HVS mORF51 showed reduced infectivity in non-HCC human cell lines compared to wild-type virus. Strikingly, HVS mORF51 retained its ability to infect HCC cell lines efficiently. However, neutralisation assays suggest that HVS mORF51 has no enhanced binding to SSTRs. Therefore, mutation of the ORF51 glycoprotein has specifically targeted HVS to HCC cell lines by reducing the infectivity of other cell types; however, the mechanism for this targeting is unknown.