The diversity of viral strategies to modulate complement activation indicates thai this component of the immune system has significant antiviral potential. One example is the Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) complement control protein (KCP), which inhibits progression of the complement cascade. Rhesus rhadinovirus (RRV), like KSHV, is a member of the subfamily Gammaherpesvirinae and currently provides the only in vivo model of KSHV pathobiology in primates. In the present study, we characterized the KCP homologue encoded by RRV, RRV complement control protein (RCP). Two strains of RRV have been sequenced to date (H26-95 and 17577), and the RCPs they encode differ substantially in structure: RCP from strain H26-95 has four complement control protein (CCP) domains, whereas RCP from strain 17577 has eight CCP domains. Transcriptioaal analyses of the RCP gene (ORF4, referred to herein as RCP) in infected rhesus macaque fibroblasts mapped the ends of the transcripts of both strains. They revealed that H26-95 encodes a full-length, unspliced ACP transcript, while 17577 ACP generates a full-length unspliced mRNA and two alternatively spliced transcripts. Western blotting confirmed that infected cells express RCP, and immune electron microscopy disclosed this protein on the surface of RRV virions. Functional studies of RCP encoded by both RRV strains revealed their ability to suppress complement activation by the classical (antibody-mediated) pathway. These data provide the foundation for studies into the biological significance of gammaherpesvirus complement regulatory proteins in a tractable, non-human primate model.
ASJC Scopus subject areas