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Virology. 2002 Feb 15;293(2):281-94.

A role for human cytomegalovirus glycoprotein O (gO) in cell fusion and a new hypervariable locus.

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Pathogen Molecular Biology and Biochemistry Unit, Department of Infectious and Tropical Diseases, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, University of London, Keppel Street, London WC1E 7HT, United Kingdom.


A cell fusion assay using fusion-from-without (FFWO) recombinant adenoviruses (RAds) and specific antibody showed a role in fusion modulation for glycoprotein gO, the recently identified third component of the gH/gL gCIII complex of human cytomegalovirus (HCMV). As in HCMV, RAd gO expressed multiple glycosylated species with a mature product of 125 kDa. Coexpression with gH/gL RAds showed gCIII reconstitution in the absence of other HCMV products and stabilisation by intermolecular disulfide bonds. Properties of HCMV clinical isolate, Pt, also implicated gO in cell spread. Compared to laboratory strain AD169, Pt was resistant to gH antibody plaque inhibition, but mature gH was identical. However, the gO sequences were highly divergent (20%), with further variation in laboratory strain Towne gO (34%). Thus, gO forms gCIII with gH/gL, performs in cell fusion, and is a newly identified HCMV hypervariable locus which may influence gCIII's function in mediating infection.

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