[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The product of the human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) UL71 gene is conserved throughout the herpesvirus family. During HCMV infection, protein pUL71 is required for efficient virion egress and is involved in the final steps of secondary envelopment leading to infectious viral particles. We found strong indications for oligomerization of pUL71 under native conditions when recombinant pUL71 was negatively stained and analyzed by electron microscopy. Oligomerization of pUL71 during infection was further verified by native and reducing polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (PAGE). By in silico analyses of the pUL71 sequence, we noticed a basic leucine zipper (bZIP)-like domain, which might serve as an oligomerization domain. We demonstrated the requirement of the bZIP-like domain for pUL71 oligomerization by coimmunoprecipitation and bimolecular fluorescence complementation using a panel of pUL71 mutants. These studies revealed that the mutation of two leucine residues is sufficient to abrogate oligomerization but that intracellular localization of pUL71 was unaffected. To investigate the relevance of the bZIP domain in the viral context, recombinant viruses carrying mutations identical to those in the panel of pUL71 mutants were generated. bZIP-defective viral mutants showed impaired viral growth, a small-plaque phenotype, and an ultrastructural phenotype similar to that of the previously described UL71 stop mutant virus. The majority of virus particles within the viral assembly compartment exhibited various stages of incomplete envelopment, which is consistent with the growth defect for the bZIP mutants. From these data we conclude that the bZIP-like domain is required for oligomerization of pUL71, which seems to be essential for correct envelopment of HCMV.
Journal of Virology 12/2011; 86(6):3370-82. · 4.65 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) UL77 gene encodes the essential protein UL77, its function is characterized in the present study. Immunoprecipitation identified monomeric and oligomeric pUL77 in HCMV infected cells. Immunostaining of purified virions and subviral fractions showed that pUL77 is a structural protein associated with capsids. In silico analysis revealed the presence of a coiled-coil motif (CCM) at the N-terminus of pUL77. Chemical cross-linking of either wild-type pUL77 or CCM deletion mutant (pUL77ΔCCM) implicated that CCM is critical for oligomerization of pUL77. Furthermore, co-immunoprecipitations of infected and transfected cells demonstrated that pUL77 interacts with the capsid-associated DNA packaging motor components, pUL56 and pUL104, as well as the major capsid protein. The ability of pUL77 to bind dsDNA was shown by an in vitro assay. Binding to certain DNA was further confirmed by an assay using biotinylated 36-, 250-, 500-, 1000-meric dsDNA and 966-meric HCMV-specific dsDNA designed for this study. The binding efficiency (BE) was determined by image processing program defining values above 1.0 as positive. While the BE of the pUL56 binding to the 36-mer bio-pac1 containing a packaging signal was 10.0 ± 0.63, the one for pUL77 was only 0.2±0.03. In contrast to this observation the BE of pUL77 binding to bio-500 bp or bio-1000 bp was 2.2 ± 0.41 and 4.9 ± 0.71, respectively. By using pUL77ΔCCM it was demonstrated that this protein could not bind to dsDNA. These data indicated that pUL77 (i) could form homodimers, (ii) CCM of pUL77 is crucial for oligomerization and (iii) could bind to dsDNA in a sequence independent manner.
PLoS ONE 10/2011; 6(10):e25115. · 3.53 Impact Factor