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J Virol. Jun 1997; 71(6): 4400–4408.
PMCID: PMC191658

Human cytomegalovirus tegument protein pp71 (ppUL82) enhances the infectivity of viral DNA and accelerates the infectious cycle.

Abstract

Three tegument proteins of human cytomegalovirus (HCMV), ppUL82 (pp71), pUL69, and ppUL83 (pp65), were examined for the ability to stimulate the production of infectious virus from human diploid fibroblasts transfected with viral DNA. Although viral DNA alone had a low intrinsic infectivity of 3 to 8 plaques/microg of viral DNA, cotransfection of a plasmid expressing pp71 increased the infectivity of HCMV DNA 30- to 80-fold. The increase in infectivity produced by pp71 was reflected in an increased number of nuclei observed to express high levels of the major immediate-early proteins IE1 and IE2. Cotransfection of viral DNA with plasmids directing expression of IE1 and IE2 also resulted in extensive IE1 and IE2 expression in the transfected cells; however, the infectivity of viral DNA was only marginally increased. pp71 also facilitated late gene expression, virus transmission to adjacent cells, and plaque formation. In contrast, expression of pUL69 reduced the pp71- and IE1/IE2-mediated enhancement of HCMV DNA infectivity and also failed to produce any increase in the number of cells expressing IE1 and IE2 over that seen with viral DNA alone. Expression of pp65 did not alter the infectivity of HCMV DNA, nor did it modify the effects of pp71 or pUL69. These results imply that pp71 plays a critical role in the initiation of infection apart from its function as a transactivator of IE1 and IE2.

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Selected References

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