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Virology. 2001 Jun 5;284(2):235-49.

Human herpesvirus 8 envelope-associated glycoprotein B interacts with heparan sulfate-like moieties.

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Department of Microbiology, Molecular Genetics and Immunology, The University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, Kansas 66160, USA.


Cell-surface heparan sulfate (HS) serves as an initial attachment receptor for several herpesviruses. The gamma2-human herpesvirus-8 (HHV-8) or Kaposi's sarcoma associated herpesvirus DNA and transcripts have been detected in B cells, endothelial cells, macrophages, and epithelial cells. HHV-8 infects a variety of human and animal cell lines leading to latent or abortive infection. Our studies showed that this broad cellular tropism may be in part due to HHV-8's interaction with the ubiquitous host cell-surface HS-like molecules. HHV-8 binding to the target cells and the infection were inhibited by soluble heparan, a glycosaminoglycan (GAG) closely related to HS. Since HHV-8 gB possess a putative heparan-binding domain (HBD) in the extracellular domain, the interaction of gB with HS-like moieties was examined. Unlike gB of gamma1-Epstein-Barr virus and gamma2-murine herpesvirus 68, HHV-8 gB was expressed on the surface of the infected cell membranes and virion envelopes. Envelope-associated gB was made up of 75 and 54 kDa polypeptides forming disulfide-linked heterodimers and multimers. Rabbit anti-gB antibodies neutralized HHV-8 infection. Virion envelope-associated gB specifically bound to heparan-agarose, which was eluted by high concentration of soluble heparan, but not by chondroitin sulfates. In vitro transcribed and translated products of gB gene specifically bound to heparan-agarose beads, which was blocked by HS and heparan, but not by other GAGs such as chondroitin sulfates (A, B, and C), N-acetyl heparan, and de-N-sulfated heparan. Biotinylated gB peptide corresponding to the putative HBD also bound to heparan. These results suggest that gB plays an important role in the infectious process of HHV-8 and virus interaction with cell-surface HS-like moieties could be in part mediated by the envelope-associated gB.

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