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Expression levels of glycoprotein O (gO) vary between strains of human cytomegalovirus, influencing the assembly of gH/gL complexes and virion infectivity

Zhang, Le, Zhou, Momei, Stanton, Richard ORCID:, Kamil, Jeremy and Ryckman, Brent J. 2018. Expression levels of glycoprotein O (gO) vary between strains of human cytomegalovirus, influencing the assembly of gH/gL complexes and virion infectivity. Journal of Virology 92 (15) , e00606-18. 10.1128/JVI.00606-18

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Tropism of human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is influenced by the envelope glycoprotein complexes gH/gL/gO and gH/gL/UL128-131. During virion assembly, gO and the UL128-131 proteins compete for binding to gH/gL in the ER. This assembly process clearly differs among strains since Merlin (ME) virions contain abundant gH/gL/UL128-131 and little gH/gL/gO, whereas TR contains much higher levels of total gH/gL, mostly in the form of gH/gL/gO, but much less gH/gL/UL128-131 than ME. Remaining questions include 1) what are the mechanisms behind these assembly differences, and 2) do differences reflect in vitro culture adaptations or natural genetic variations? Since the UL74(gO) ORF differs by 25% of amino acids between TR and ME, we analyzed recombinant viruses in which the UL74(gO) ORF was swapped. TR virions were >40-fold more infectious than ME. Transcriptional repression of UL128-131 enhanced infectivity of ME to the level of TR, despite still far lower levels of gH/gL/gO. Swapping the UL74(gO) ORF had no effect on either TR or ME. A quantitative immunoprecipitation approach revealed that gH/gL expression was within 4-fold between TR and ME, but gO expression was 20-fold less by ME, and suggested differences in mRNA transcription, translation or rapid ER-associated degradation of gO. Trans-complementation of gO expression during ME replication gave 6-fold enhancement of infectivity beyond the 40-fold effect of UL128-131 repression alone. Overall, strain variations in assembly of gH/gL complexes result from differences in expression of gO and UL128-131, and selective advantages for reduced UL128-131 expression during fibroblast propagation are much stronger than for higher gO expression.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Systems Immunity Research Institute (SIURI)
Publisher: American Society for Microbiology
ISSN: 0022-538X
Funders: MRC
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 15 May 2018
Date of Acceptance: 9 May 2018
Last Modified: 06 Nov 2023 15:43

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