Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) entry involves trimer (gH/gL/gO) that interacts with PDGFRα in fibroblasts. Entry into epithelial and endothelial cells requires trimer, which binds unidentified receptors, and pentamer (gH/gL/UL128-131), which binds neuropilin-2. To identify functionally important domains in trimer, we screened an overlapping 20-mer gO peptide library and identified two sets of peptides: 19/20 (a.a. 235–267) and 32/33 (a.a. 404–436) that could block virus entry. Soluble trimer containing wild type gO blocked HCMV entry, whereas soluble trimers with the 19/20 or 32/33 sequences mutated did not block entry. Interestingly, the mutant trimers retained the capacity to bind to cellular receptors including PDGFRα. Peptide 19/20 and 32/33 sequences formed a lobe extending from the surface of gO and an adjacent concave structure, respectively. Neither of these sets of sequences contacted PDGFRα. Instead, our data support a model in which the 19/20 and 32/33 trimer sequences function downstream of receptor binding, e.g. trafficking of HCMV into endosomes or binding to gB for entry fusion. We also screened for peptides that bound antibodies (Abs) in human sera, observing that peptides 20 and 26 bound Abs. These peptides engendered neutralizing Abs (NAbs) after immunization of rabbits and could pull out NAbs from human sera. Peptides 20 and 26 sequences represent the first NAb epitopes identified in trimer. These studies describe two important surfaces on gO defined by: i) peptides 19/20 and 32/33, which apparently act downstream of receptor binding and ii) peptide 26 that interacts with PDGFRα. Both these surfaces are targets of NAbs.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology