Background: Viruses must adapt to the environment of their host cells to establish infection and persist. Diverse mammalian cells, including virus-infected cells, release extracellular vesicles such as exosomes containing proteins and miRNAs, and use these vesicles to mediate intercellular communication. However, the roles of exosomes in viral infection remain unclear. Results: We screened viral proteins to identify those responsible for the exosome-mediated enhancement of Epstein–Barr virus (EBV) infection. We identified BGLF2 protein encapsulated in exosomes, which were released by EBV-infected cells. BGLF2 protein is a tegument protein that exists in the space between the envelope and nucleocapsid, and it is released into the cytoplasm shortly after infection. BGLF2 protein-containing exosomes enhanced viral gene expression and repressed innate immunity, thereby supporting the EBV infection. Conclusions: The EBV tegument protein BGLF2 is encapsulated in exosomes and released by infected cells to facilitate the establishment of EBV infection. These findings suggest that tegument proteins support viral infection not only between the envelope and nucleocapsid, as well as in extraviral particles such as exosomes. Graphical abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.] [MediaObject not available: see fulltext.].
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology