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J Virol. 1992 Jun;66(6):3937-40.

New member of the multigene family of complement control proteins in herpesvirus saimiri.

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Institut für Klinische und Molekulare Virologie Friedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany.


A number of glycoproteins are regulators of the complement cascade and prevent damage to cells by inappropriate activation of complement. In humans, all of them are encoded by a multigene family on chromosome I and share a characteristic structural feature, the short consensus repeats of about 61 amino acids with a constant framework of cysteine, proline, and tryptophan. We found the gene for glycoproteins of analogous structure in herpesvirus saimiri, a T-lymphotropic tumor virus of New World primates. Unspliced transcripts code for a membrane-bound 65- to 75-kDa virion surface component, while spliced mRNA instructs a secreted glycoprotein of 47 to 53 kDa. Expression of complement control proteins suggests a novel mechanism of counteracting host immune defense to prevent elimination of a virus that is capable of persisting in circulating lymphocytes.

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