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J Virol. 1992 Jul;66(7):4013-27.

Structural basis of C3b binding by glycoprotein C of herpes simplex virus.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia 19104-6003.


Glycoproteins C (gC) from herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) and HSV-2, gC-1 and gC-2, bind the human complement fragment C3b, although the two glycoproteins differ in their abilities to act as C3b receptors on infected cells and in their effects on the alternative complement pathway. Previously, we identified three regions of gC-2 (I, II, and III) which are important for C3b binding. In this study, our goal was to identify C3b-binding sites on gC-1 and to continue our analysis of gC-2. We constructed a large panel of mutants by using the cloned gC-1 and gC-2 genes. Most of the mutant proteins were transported to the surface of transiently transfected L cells and reacted with one or more monoclonal antibodies to discontinuous epitopes. By using 31 linker insertion mutants spread across the coding region of gC-1, we identified four regions in the ectodomain of gC-1 which are important for C3b binding, three of which are similar in position to C3b-binding regions I, II, and III of gC-2. Region III shares some similarities with the short consensus repeat found in CR1, the human complement receptor. These were, in part, the targets for construction of 20 single amino acid changes in region III of gC-1 and gC-2. These mutants identified similarities and differences in the C3b-binding properties of gC-1 and gC-2 and suggest that the amino half of region III is more important for C3b binding. However, our results do not support the concept of a structural relationship between the short consensus repeat of CR1 and gC, since mutations of some of the conserved residues, including three of four cysteines in region III, had no effect on C3b binding. Finally, we constructed four deletion mutants of gC-1, including one which lacked residues 33 to 123, as well as residues 367 to 449. This severely truncated molecule, lacking four cysteines and five potential N-linked glycosylation sites, was transported to the cell surface and retained its ability to bind monoclonal antibodies as well as C3b. Thus, the four distinct C3b-binding regions of gC-1 and several epitopes within two different antigenic sites are localized within residues 124 to 366.

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