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Vaccinia virus (VACV) spreads across cell monolayers fourfold faster than predicted from its replication kinetics. Early after infection, infected cells repulse some superinfecting extracellular enveloped virus (EEV) particles by the formation of actin tails from the cell surface, thereby causing accelerated spread to uninfected cells. This strategy requires the expression of two viral proteins, A33 and A36, on the surface of infected cells and upon contact with EEV this complex induces actin polymerization. Here we have studied this phenomenon further and investigated whether A33 and A36 expression in cell lines causes an increase in VACV plaque size, whether these proteins are able to block superinfection by EEV, and which protein(s) on the EEV surface are required to initiate the formation of actin tails from infected cells. Data presented show that VACV plaque size was not increased by expression of A33 and A36, and these proteins did not block entry of the majority of EEV binding to these cells. In contrast, expression of proteins A56 and K2 inhibited entry of both EEV and intracellular mature virus. Lastly, VACV protein B5 was required on EEV to induce the formation of actin tails at the surface of cells expressing A33 and A36, and B5 short consensus repeat 4 is critical for this induction.

Original publication




Journal article


Journal of General Virology


Microbiology Society

Publication Date





1876 - 1886