A role for heparan sulfate in viral surfing.Heparan sulfate (HS) moieties on cell surfaces are known to provide attachment sites for many viruses including herpes simplex virus type-1 (HSV-1). Here, we demonstrate that cells respond to HSV-1 infection by enhancing filopodia formation. Filopodia express HS and are subsequently utilized for the transport of HSV-1 virions to cell bodies in a surfing-like phenomenon, which is facilitated by the underlying actin cytoskeleton and is regulated by transient activation of a small Rho GTPase, Cdc42. We also demonstrate that interaction between a highly conserved herpesvirus envelope glycoprotein B (gB) and HS is required for surfing. A HSV-1 mutant that lacks gB fails to surf and quantum dots conjugated with gB demonstrate surfing-like movements. Our data demonstrates a novel use of a common receptor, HS, which could also be exploited by multiple viruses and quite possibly, many additional ligands for transport along the plasma membrane.