Human Cytomegalovirus gH/gL Forms a Stable Complex with the Fusion Protein gB in Virions

Adam L. Vanarsdall, Paul W. Howard, Todd W. Wisner, David C. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

32 Scopus citations

Abstract

Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is a ubiquitous virus that is a major pathogen in newborns and immunocompromised or immunosuppressed patients. HCMV infects a wide variety of cell types using distinct entry pathways that involve different forms of the gH/gL glycoprotein: gH/gL/gO and gH/gL/UL128-131 as well as the viral fusion glycoprotein, gB. However, the minimal or core fusion machinery (sufficient for cell-cell fusion) is just gH/gL and gB. Here, we demonstrate that HCMV gB and gH/gL form a stable complex early after their synthesis and in the absence of other viral proteins. gH/gL can interact with gB mutants that are unable to mediate cell-cell fusion. gB-gH/gL complexes included as much as 16–50% of the total gH/gL in HCMV virus particles. In contrast, only small amounts of gH/gL/gO and gH/gL/UL128-131 complexes were found associated with gB. All herpesviruses express gB and gH/gL molecules and most models describing herpesvirus entry suggest that gH/gL interacts with gB to mediate membrane fusion, although there is no direct evidence for this. For herpes simplex virus (HSV-1) it has been suggested that after receptor binding gH/gL binds to gB either just before, or coincident with membrane fusion. Therefore, our results have major implications for these models, demonstrating that HCMV gB and gH/gL forms stable gB-gH/gL complexes that are incorporated virions without receptor binding or membrane fusion. Moreover, our data is the best support to date for the proposal that gH/gL interacts with gB.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere1005564
JournalPLoS pathogens
Volume12
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Virology

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