Variability, Structural Glycoproteins, and Classification of Herpes Simplex Viruses

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  • A Corrigendum to this article was published on 21 November 1970


HERPES simplex is an infectious disease of man caused by a virus once known by the same name but which is now euphemistically known as herpesvirus hominis1. A characteristic of this disease is localization to particular parts of the body, frequently on the skin and near the lip, cornea, thigh or genitals. Immunological analysis2 of herpes viruses isolated from a large number of patients has led to the suggestion that there are two types of herpes viruses. Viruses isolated from infections on all parts of the body except the genitals frequently fall into type 1. Conversely, viruses transmitted venereally and isolated from lesions on the genitals fall into type 2. Recently there has been considerable interest in the properties, classification and evolution of herpes viruses, particularly in view of the reports linking carcinoma of the cervix with type 2 herpes viruses3,4 and cancer of the lip with type 1 viruses5,6. With respect to the extent of the relatedness of type 1 and type 2 viruses and the role of the virus in determining the site of infection, we suggest that (1) herpes simplex viruses in nature and in the laboratory form a spectrum of variants differing with respect to structural components of the virus and, in certain cases, biological properties and mode of transmission; (2) the viruses isolated from genital infections (type 2) are most probably closely related to viruses causing infection of the face (type 1); and (3) herpesvirus hominis is not a suitable name for herpes simplex virus.

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ROIZMAN, B., KELLER, J., SPEAR, P. et al. Variability, Structural Glycoproteins, and Classification of Herpes Simplex Viruses. Nature 227, 1253–1254 (1970) doi:10.1038/2271253a0

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