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Eur J Immunol. 1996 Jul;26(7):1532-8.

Altered expression of host-encoded complement regulators on human cytomegalovirus-infected cells.

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Department of Pathology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.


Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV)-infected cells persist in the presence of anti-HCMV antibody, suggesting that HCMV has evolved mechanisms to evade host immune defenses. Insofar as no virus-encoded complement inhibitors have been identified for HCMV, we hypothesized that HCMV infection may alter the expression of host-encoded cell surface complement inhibitors. Herein, we report that cell surface expression of two complement regulator proteins, CD55 and CD46, which are members of the regulators of complement activation (RCA) gene cluster, increased up to eightfold following infection of fibroblasts or glioblastoma cells with HCMV, but not after infection with HSV-1 or adenovirus. However, the cell surface expression of a third complement regulator, CD59, which is not a member of the RCA gene cluster, was not altered during HCMV infection. Functional studies using purified complement components demonstrated that up-regulation of CD55 suppressed the activity of cell-associated C3 convertases on HCMV-infected cells. Furthermore, increased CD55 expression protected infected cells from complement-mediated lysis, an effect which directly correlated with the length of HCMV infection. Increased expression of host-encoded complement regulator proteins may provide protection of HCMV-infected cells from the host immune response in vivo, through increasing the resistance of infected cells to complement-mediated lysis and decreasing the deposition of C3-derived products on the cell surface.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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