We explored a possible role for the basic fibroblast growth factor (FGF) receptor during herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) infection of primary mouse astrocytes, glial cells of the central nervous system known to express FGF receptors. Plaque reduction experiments showed that treatment of astrocyte monolayers with human recombinant basic FGF failed to inhibit HSV-1 infectivity, although treatment with either heparin or poly-L-lysine reduced it by approximately 100%. Identical results were obtained when monolayers of human embryonic lung fibroblasts or African green monkey kidney cells were treated with FGF, heparin or poly-L-lysine prior to HSV-1 infection. We conclude that the basic FGF receptor is not involved in the uptake of HSV-1 during productive infection of astrocytes. Our findings suggest that this molecule is not the predominant cellular receptor for HSV-1 among vertebrate cells and plays no role in defining HSV-1 neurotropism in vivo.
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