Pseudorabies virus glycoprotein M inhibits membrane fusion

Klupp, Barbara GND; Nixdorf, R.; Mettenleiter, Thomas C. GND

A transient transfection-fusion assay was established to investigate membrane fusion mediated by pseudorabies virus (PrV) glycoproteins. Plasmids expressing PrV glycoproteins under control of the immediate-early 1 promoter-enhancer of human cytomegalovirus were transfected into rabbit kidney cells, and the extent of cell fusion was quantitated 27 to 42 h after transfection. Cotransfection of plasmids encoding PrV glycoproteins B (gB), gD, gH, and gL resulted in formation of polykaryocytes, as has been shown for homologous proteins of herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) (A. Turner, B. Bruun, T. Minson, and H. Browne, J. Virol. 72:873-875, 1998). However, in contrast to HSV-1, fusion was also observed when the gD-encoding plasmid was omitted, which indicates that PrV gB, gH, and gL are sufficient to mediate fusion. Fusogenic activity was enhanced when a carboxy-terminally truncated version of gB (gB-008) lacking the C-terminal 29 amino acids was used instead of wild-type gB. With gB-008, only gH was required in addition for fusion. A very rapid and extended fusion was observed after cotransfection of plasmids encoding gB-008 and gDH, a hybrid protein consisting of the N-terminal 271 amino acids of gD fused to the 590 C-terminal amino acids of gH. This protein has been shown to substitute for gH, gD, and gL function in the respective viral mutants (B. G. Klupp and T. C. Mettenleiter, J. Virol. 73:3014-3022, 1999). Cotransfection of plasmids encoding PrV gC, gE, gI, gK, and UL20 with gB-008 and gDH had no effect on fusion. However, inclusion of a gM-expressing plasmid strongly reduced the extent of fusion. An inhibitory effect was also observed after inclusion of plasmids encoding gM homologs of equine herpesvirus 1 or infectious laryngotracheitis virus but only in conjunction with expression of the gM complex partner, the gN homolog. Inhibition by PrV gM was not limited to PrV glycoprotein-mediated fusion but also affected fusion induced by the F protein of bovine respiratory syncytial virus, indicating a general mechanism of fusion inhibition by gM

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Klupp, Barbara / Nixdorf, R. / Mettenleiter, Thomas C.: Pseudorabies virus glycoprotein M inhibits membrane fusion. 2000.

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