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J Virol. 2007 Aug;81(16):8525-32. Epub 2007 Jun 6.

The amino terminus of varicella-zoster virus (VZV) glycoprotein E is required for binding to insulin-degrading enzyme, a VZV receptor.

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Laboratory of Clinical Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, 10 Center Drive, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


Varicella-zoster virus (VZV) glycoprotein E (gE) is required for VZV infection. Although gE is well conserved among alphaherpesviruses, the amino terminus of VZV gE is unique. Previously, we showed that gE interacts with insulin-degrading enzyme (IDE) and facilitates VZV infection and cell-to-cell spread of the virus. Here we define the region of VZV gE required to bind IDE. Deletion of amino acids 32 to 71 of gE, located immediately after the predicted signal peptide, resulted in loss of the ability of gE to bind IDE. A synthetic peptide corresponding to amino acids 24 to 50 of gE blocked its interaction with IDE in a concentration-dependent manner. However, a chimeric gE in which amino acids 1 to 71 of VZV gE were fused to amino acids 30 to 545 of herpes simplex virus type 2 gE did not show an increased level of binding to IDE compared with that of full-length HSV gE. Thus, amino acids 24 to 71 of gE are required for IDE binding, and the secondary structure of gE is critical for the interaction. VZV gE also forms a heterodimer with glycoprotein gI. Deletion of amino acids 163 to 208 of gE severely reduced its ability to form a complex with gI. The amino portion of IDE, as well an IDE mutant in the catalytic domain of the protein, bound to gE. Therefore, distinct motifs of VZV gE are important for binding to IDE or to gI.

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