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J Virol. 2002 Feb;76(3):1043-50.

Human cytomegalovirus UL47 tegument protein functions after entry and before immediate-early gene expression.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Biology, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey 08544-1014, USA.


The human cytomegalovirus UL47 open reading frame encodes a 110-kDa protein that is a component of the virion tegument. We have constructed a cytomegalovirus mutant, ADsubUL47, in which the central portion of the UL47 open reading frame has been replaced by two marker genes. The mutant replicated to titers 100-fold lower than those for wild-type virus after infection at either a high or a low input multiplicity in primary human fibroblasts but was substantially complemented on cells expressing UL47 protein. A revertant virus in which the mutation was repaired, ADrevUL47, replicated with wild-type kinetics. Mutant virions lacked UL47 protein and contained reduced amounts of UL48 protein. The mutant was found to be less infectious than wild-type virus, and a defect very early in the replication cycle was observed. Transcription of the viral immediate-early 1 gene was delayed by 8 to 10 h. However, this delay was not the result of a defect in virus entry or of the inability of virion proteins to transactivate the major immediate-early promoter. We also show that the UL47 protein coprecipitated with the UL48 and UL69 tegument proteins and the UL86-encoded major capsid protein. We propose that a UL47-containing complex is involved in the release of viral DNA from the disassembling virus particle and that the loss of UL47 protein causes this process to be delayed.

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