Scanning mutagenesis of human cytomegalovirus glycoprotein gH/gL

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The core, conserved function of the herpesvirus gH/gL is to promote gB-mediated membrane fusion during entry, although the mechanism is poorly understood. The human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) gH/gL can exist as either the gH/gL/gO trimer or the gH/gL/UL128/UL130/UL131 (gH/gL/UL128-131) pentamer. One model suggests that gH/gL/gO provides the core fusion role during entry into all cells within the broad tropism of HCMV, whereas gH/gL/UL128-131 acts at an earlier stage, by a distinct receptor-binding mechanism to enhance infection of select cell types, such as epithelial cells, endothelial cells, and monocytes/macrophages. To further study the distinct functions of these complexes, mutants with individual charged cluster-to-alanine (CCTA) mutations of gH and gL were combined to generate a library of 80 mutant gH/gL heterodimers. The majority of the mutant gH/gL complexes were unable to facilitate gB-mediated membrane fusion in transient-expression cell-cell fusion experiments. In contrast, these mutants supported the formation of gH/gL/UL128-131 complexes that could block HCMV infection in receptor interference experiments. These results suggest that receptor interactions with gH/gL/UL128-131 involve surfaces contained on the UL128-131 proteins but not on gH/gL. gH/gL/UL128-131 receptor interference could be blocked with anti-gH antibodies, suggesting that interference is a cell surface phenomenon and that anti-gH antibodies can block gH/gL/UL128-131 in a manner that is distinct from that for gH/gL/gO.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2294-2305
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Virology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2016


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