Varicella-zoster virus (VZV or HHV3) is a member of the genus Varicellovirus in the Alphaherpesvirinae subfamily of the Herpesviridae. It is the causative agent of chicken pox (varicella) in children, after which it establishes latency in the sensory ganglia with the potential to reactivate at a later time to cause shingles (zoster). This is an extremely stable virus. The genome is comprised of ~125 kb of linear double-stranded DNA containing approximately 71 open reading frames (ORFs). The viral structure is similar to that of other alphaherpesviruses, consisting of two unique regions, unique long and unique short, each flanked by inverted repeats; short repeats termed terminal repeat long and internal repeat long border the unique long region, while larger repeats termed terminal repeat short (TRS) and internal repeat short (IRS) border the unique short region.
Varicella-zoster virus (VZV) interacts with cell surface heparan sulfate proteoglycans during virus attachment. VZV-gE is a glycoprotein that plays an active or supportive role in VZV cell membrane fusion. VZV-gE was found to enhance the fusogenic potential of VZV gB.
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