Human cytomegalovirus envelope protein gpul132 regulates infectious virus production through formation of the viral assembly compartment

Academic Article


  • The human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) UL132 open reading frame encodes a 270-amino-acid type I envelope glycoprotein, gpUL132. The deletion of UL132 (ΔUL132) from the HCMV genome results in a pronounced deficit in virus yield, with an approximately 2-log decrease in the production of infectious virus compared to the wild-type (WT) virus. Characterization of the ΔUL132 mutant virus indicated that it was less infectious with a high particle-to-infectious unit ratio and an altered composition of virion proteins compared to the WT virus. In addition, the viral assembly compartment (AC) failed to form in cells infected with the ΔUL132 mutant virus. The expression of gpUL132 in trans rescued the defects in the morphogenesis of the AC in cells infected with the ΔUL132 mutant virus and in infectious virus production. Furthermore, using cell lines expressing chimeric proteins, we demonstrated that the cytosolic domain of gpUL132 was sufficient to rescue AC formation and WT levels of virus production. Progeny virions from ΔUL132-infected cells expressing the cytosolic domain of gpUL132 exhibited particle-to-infectious unit ratios similar to those of the WT virus. Together, our findings argue that gpUL132 is essential for HCMV AC formation and the efficient production of infectious particles, thus highlighting the importance of this envelope protein for the virus-induced reorganization of intracellular membranes and AC formation in the assembly of infectious virus. IMPORTANCE Following infection of permissive cells, human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) induces the reorganization of intracellular membranes resulting in the formation of a distinctive membranous compartment in the cytoplasm of infected cells. This compartment has been designated the viral assembly compartment (AC) and is thought to be a site for cytoplasmic virion assembly and envelopment. In this study, we have demonstrated that a single virion envelope glycoprotein is essential for AC formation in infected cells, and in its absence, there is a significant decrease in the production of infectious virions. These findings are consistent with those from other studies that have demonstrated the importance of host cell proteins in the formation of the AC and demonstrate a critical role of a single virion protein in AC formation and the efficient assembly of infectious virus.
  • Published In

  • mBio  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Wu H; Kropff B; Mach M; Britt WJ
  • Start Page

  • 1
  • End Page

  • 16
  • Volume

  • 11
  • Issue

  • 5