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Cell Microbiol. 2007 Dec;9(12):2955-67. Epub 2007 Aug 29.

The ESCRT machinery is not required for human cytomegalovirus envelopment.

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Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, Centro Nacional de Biotecnología, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Campus Universidad Autonoma, Madrid 28049, Spain.


The human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) has been proposed to complete its final envelopment on cytoplasmic membranes prior to its release to the extracellular medium. The nature of these membranes and the mechanisms involved in virus envelopment and release are poorly understood. Here we show by immunogold-labelling and electron microscopy that CD63, a marker of multivesicular bodies (MVBs), is incorporated into the viral envelope, supporting the notion that HCMV uses endocytic membranes for its envelopment. We therefore investigated a possible role for the cellular endosomal sorting complex required for transport (ESCRT) machinery in HCMV envelopment. Depletion of tumour suppressor gene 101 and ALIX/AIP1 with small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) in HCMV-infected cells did not affect virus production. In contrast, siRNAs against the vacuolar protein sorting 4 (VPS4) proteins silenced the expression of VPS4A and VPS4B, inhibited the sorting of epidermal growth factor to lysosomes, the formation of HIV Gag-derived virus-like particles and vesicular stomatitis virus infection, but enhanced the number of HCMV viral particles produced. Treatment of infected cells with protease inhibitors also increased viral production. These studies indicate that, in contrast to some enveloped RNA viruses, HCMV does not require the cellular ESCRT machinery to complete its envelopment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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