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J Gen Virol. 2001 Nov;82(Pt 11):2777-84.

gpUL73 (gN) genomic variants of human cytomegalovirus isolates are clustered into four distinct genotypes.

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Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Division of Microbiology, University of Bologna, St Orsola General Hospital, Via Massarenti 9, 40138 Bologna, Italy.


Clinical isolates of human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) show differences in tissue tropism, severity of clinical manifestations and ability to establish persistent or latent infections, characteristics that are thought to be related to genomic variation among strains. This work analysed the genomic variants of a new HCMV polymorphic locus, open reading frame (ORF) UL73. This ORF encodes the envelope glycoprotein gpUL73 (gN), which associates in a high molecular mass complex with its counterpart, gM, and induces a neutralizing antibody response in the host. Detailed sequence analysis of ORF UL73 and its gene product from clinical isolates and laboratory-adapted strains shows that this glycoprotein is highly polymorphic, in the N-terminal region in particular. gpUL73 hypervariability is not randomly distributed, but the identified genomic variants are clearly clustered into four distinct genotypes (gN-1, gN-2, gN-3 and gN-4), which are not associated with the gB subtype.

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