Varicella-zoster virus (VZV) is the first of the human herpesviruses to be attenuated and subsequently approved as a live vaccine to prevent varicella and herpes zoster. Both the attenuated VZV vaccine, called vaccine Oka or vOka, and the parental strain pOka have been completely sequenced. Yet the specific determinants of attenuation are uncertain. The open reading frame (ORF) with the most single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), ORF62, encodes the regulatory protein IE62, but IE62 studies have failed to define a specific SNP associated with attenuation. We have completed next-generation sequencing of the VZV Ellen genome, a strain known to be highly attenuated by its very limited replication in human skin xenografts in the SCID mouse model of VZV pathogenesis. A comparative analysis of the Ellen sequence with all other complete VZV sequences was extremely informative. In particular, an unexpected finding was a stop codon mutation in Ellen ORF0 (herpes simplex virus UL56 homolog) identical to one found in vOka, combined with the absence of polymorphisms in most Ellen ORFs that were known to be mutated in vOka. The mutated ORF0 protein was also imaged in both two dimensions and three dimensions by confocal microscopy. The probability of two VZV strains not connected by a recent common ancestor having an identical ORF0 SNP by chance would be 1 × 10−8, in other words, extremely unlikely. Taken together, these bioinformatics analyses strongly suggest that the stop codon ORF0 SNP is one of the determinants of the attenuation genotype of live VZV vaccines.
Human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6) is a T-cell-tropic betaherpesvirus. HHV-6 can be classified into two variants, HHV-6 variant A (HHV-6A) and HHV-6B, based on genetic, antigenic, and cell tropisms, although the homology of their entire genomic sequences is nearly 90%. The HHV-6A glycoprotein complex gH/gL/gQ1/gQ2 is a viral ligand that binds to the cellular receptor human CD46. Because gH has 94.3% amino acid identity between the variants, here we examined whether gH from one variant could complement its loss in the other. Recently, we successfully reconstituted HHV-6A from its cloned genome in a bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) (rHHV-6ABAC). Using this system, we constructed HHV-6ABAC DNA containing the HHV-6B gH (BgH) gene instead of the HHV-6A gH (AgH) gene in Escherichia coli. Recombinant HHV-6ABAC expressing BgH (rHHV-6ABAC-BgH) was successfully reconstituted. In addition, a monoclonal antibody that blocks HHV-6B but not HHV-6A infection neutralized rHHV-6ABAC-BgH but not rHHV-6ABAC. These results indicate that HHV-6B gH can complement the function of HHV-6A gH in the viral infectious cycle.
The antigenicity of seasonal human influenza virus changes continuously; thus, a cross-protective influenza vaccine design needs to be established. Intranasal immunization with an influenza split-virion (SV) vaccine and a mucosal adjuvant induces cross-protection; however, no mucosal adjuvant has been assessed clinically. Formalin-inactivated intact human and avian viruses alone (without adjuvant) induce cross-protection against the highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza virus. However, it is unknown whether seasonal human influenza formalin-inactivated whole-virion (WV) vaccine alone induces cross-protection against strains within a subtype or in a different subtype of human influenza virus. Furthermore, there are few reports comparing the cross-protective efficacy of the WV vaccine and SV vaccine-mucosal adjuvant mixtures. Here, we found that the intranasal human influenza WV vaccine alone induced both the innate immune response and acquired immune response, resulting in cross-protection against drift variants within a subtype of human influenza virus. The cross-protective efficacy conferred by the WV vaccine in intranasally immunized mice was almost the same as that conferred by a mixture of SV vaccine and adjuvants. The level of cross-protective efficacy was correlated with the cross-reactive neutralizing antibody titer in the nasal wash and bronchoalveolar fluids. However, neither the SV vaccine with adjuvant nor the WV vaccine induced cross-reactive virus-specific cytotoxic T-lymphocyte activity. These results suggest that the intranasal human WV vaccine injection alone is effective against variants within a virus subtype, mainly through a humoral immune response, and that the cross-protection elicited by the WV vaccine and the SV vaccine plus mucosal adjuvants is similar.
Human herpesvirus-6 (HHV-6) is a T lymphotropic herpesvirus belonging to the Betaherpesvirinae subfamily. HHV-6 was long classified into variants A and B (HHV-6A and HHV-6B); however, recently, HHV-6A and HHV-6B were reclassified as different species. The process of herpesvirus entry into target cells is complicated, and in the case of HHV-6A and HHV-6B, the detailed mechanism remains to be elucidated, although both viruses are known to enter cells via endocytosis. In this paper, (1) findings about the cellular receptor and its ligand for HHV-6A and HHV-6B are summarized, and (2) a schematic model of HHV-6A's replication cycle, including its entry, is presented. In addition, (3) reports showing the importance of lipids in both the HHV-6A envelope and target-cell membrane for viral entry are reviewed, and (4) glycoproteins involved in cell fusion are discussed.
To maintain immunity against Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV), a formalin-inactivated Japanese encephalitis (JE) vaccine should be administered several times. The repeated vaccination is not helpful in the case of a sudden outbreak of JEV or when urgent travel to a high-JEV-risk region is required; however, there are few single-injection JE vaccine options. In the present study, we investigated the efficacy of a single dose of a new effective JE virus-like particle preparation containing the JE envelope protein (JE-VLP). Although single administration with JE-VLP protected less than 50% of mice against lethal JEV infection, adding poly(γ-glutamic acid) nanoparticles (γ-PGA-NPs) or aluminum adjuvant (alum) to JE-VLP significantly protected more than 90% of the mice. A single injection of JE-VLP with either γ-PGA-NPs or alum induced a significantly greater anti-JEV neutralizing antibody titer than JE-VLP alone. The enhanced titers were maintained for more than 6 months, resulting in long-lasting protection of 90% of the immunized mice. Although the vaccine design needs further modification to reach 100% protection, a single dose of JE-VLP with γ-PGA-NPs may be a useful step in developing a next-generation vaccine to stop a JE outbreak or to immunize travelers or military personnel.
Human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6) is a T cell-tropic betaherpesvirus. HHV-6 can be classified into two variants, HHV-6A and HHV-6B, based on differences in their genetic, antigenic, and growth characteristics and cell tropisms. The function of HHV-6B should be analyzed more in its life cycle, as more than 90% of people have the antibodies for HHV-6B but not HHV-6A. It has been shown that the cellular receptor for HHV-6A is human CD46 and that the viral ligand for CD46 is the envelope glycoprotein complex gH/gL/gQ1/gQ2; however, the receptor-ligand pair used by HHV-6B is still unknown. In this study, to identify the glycoprotein(s) important for HHV-6B entry, we generated monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) that inhibit infection by HHV-6B. Most of these MAbs were found to recognize gQ1, indicating that HHV-6B gQ1 is critical for virus entry. Interestingly, the recognition of gQ1 by the neutralizing MAb was enhanced by coexpression with gQ2. Moreover, gQ1 deletion or point mutants that are not recognized by the MAb could nonetheless associate with gQ2, indicating that although the MAb recognized the conformational epitope of gQ1 exposed by the gQ2 interaction, this epitope was not related to the gQ2 binding domain. Our study shows that HHV-6B gQ1 is likely a ligand for the HHV-6B receptor, and the recognition site for this MAb will be a promising target for antiviral agents.
Human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6) is a T-cell-tropic betaherpesvirus. A glycoprotein (g) complex that is unique to HHV-6, gH/gL/gQ1/gQ2, is a viral ligand for its cellular receptor, human CD46. However, whether complex formation or one component of the complex is required for CD46 binding and how the complex is transported in cells are open questions. Furthermore, in HHV-6-infected cells the gQ1 protein modified with N-linked glycans is expressed in two forms with different molecular masses: an 80-kDa form (gQ1-80K) and a 74-kDa form (gQ1-74K). Only gQ1-80K, but not gQ1-74K, forms the complex with gQ2, gH, and gL, and this four-component complex is incorporated into mature virions. Here, we characterized the molecular context leading to the maturation of gQ1 by expressing combinations of the individual gH/gL/gQ1/gQ2 components in 293T cells. Surprisingly, only when all four molecules were expressed was a substantial amount of gQ1-80K detected, indicating that all three of the other molecules (gQ2, gH, and gL) were necessary and sufficient for gQ1 maturation. We also found that only the tetrameric complex, and not its subsets, binds to CD46. Finally, a gQ2-null virus constructed in the BAC (bacterial artificial chromosome) system could not be reconstituted, indicating that gQ2 is essential for virus growth. These results show that gH, gL, gQ1, and gQ2 are all essential for the trafficking and proper folding of the gH/gL/gQ1/gQ2 complex and, thus, for HHV-6 infection.
A safe and potent adjuvant is needed for development of mucosal vaccines against etiological agents, such as influenza virus, that enter the host at mucosal surfaces. Cytokines are potential adjuvants for mucosal vaccines because they can enhance primary and memory immune responses enough to protect against some infectious agents. For this study, we tested 26 interleukin (IL) cytokines as mucosal vaccine adjuvants and compared their abilities to induce antigen (Ag)-specific immune responses against influenza virus. In mice intranasally immunized with recombinant influenza virus hemagglutinin (rHA) plus one of the IL cytokines, IL-1 family cytokines (i.e., IL-1α, IL-1β, IL-18, and IL-33) were found to increase Ag-specific immunoglobulin G (IgG) in plasma and IgA in mucosal secretions compared to those after immunization with rHA alone. In addition, high levels of both Th1- and Th2-type cytokines were observed in mice immunized with rHA plus an IL-1 family cytokine. Furthermore, mice intranasally immunized with rHA plus an IL-1 family cytokine had significant protection against a lethal influenza virus infection. Interestingly, the adjuvant effects of IL-18 and IL-33 were significantly decreased in mast cell-deficient W/Wv mice, indicating that mast cells have an important role in induction of Ag-specific mucosal immune responses induced by IL-1 family cytokines. In summary, our results demonstrate that IL-1 family cytokines are potential mucosal vaccine adjuvants and can induce Ag-specific immune responses for protection against pathogens like influenza virus.
Human herpesvirus-6 (HHV-6) is a beta-herpesvirus. HHV-6 infects and replicates in T cells. The HHV-6-encoded major immediate early gene (MIE) is expressed at the immediate-early infection phase. Human cytomegalovirus major immediate early promoter (CMV MIEp) is commercially available for the expression of various heterologous genes. Here we identified the HHV-6 MIE promoter (MIEp) and compared its activity with that of CMV MIEp in various cell lines.
The HHV-6 MIEp and some HHV-6 MIEp variants were amplified by PCR from HHV-6B strain HST. These fragments and CMV MIEp were subcloned into the pGL-3 luciferase reporter plasmid and subjected to luciferase reporter assay. In addition, to investigate whether the HHV-6 MIEp could be used as the promoter for expression of foreign genes in a recombinant varicella-zoster virus, we inserted HHV-6 MIEp-DsRed expression casette into the varicella-zoster virus genome.
HHV-6 MIEp showed strong activity in T cells compared with CMV MIEp, and the presence of intron 1 of the MIE gene increased its activity. The NF-κB-binding site, which lies within the R3 repeat, was critical for this activity. Moreover, the HHV-6 MIEp drove heterologous gene expression in recombinant varicella-zoster virus-infected cells.
These data suggest that HHV-6 MIEp functions more strongly than CMV MIEp in various T-cell lines.
The ORF50 gene of the varicella-zoster virus (VZV) encodes glycoprotein M (gM), which is conserved among all herpesviruses and is important for the cell-to-cell spread of VZV. However, few analyses of ORF50 gene expression or its posttranscriptional and translational modifications have been published. Here we found that in VZV-infected cells, ORF50 encoded four transcripts: a full-size transcript, which was translated into the gM, and three alternatively spliced transcripts, which were not translated. Using a splicing-negative mutant virus, we showed that the alternative transcripts were nonessential for viral growth in cell culture. In addition, we found that two amino acid mutations of gM, V42P and G301M, blocked gM's maturation and transport to the trans-Golgi network, which is generally recognized as the viral assembly complex. We also found that the mutations disrupted gM's interaction with glycoprotein N (gN), revealing their interaction through a bond that is otherwise unreported for herpesviruses. Using this gM maturation-negative virus, we found that immature gM and gN were incorporated into intracellularly isolated virus particles and that mature gM was required for efficient viral growth via cell-to-cell spread but not for virion morphogenesis. The virus particles were more abundant at the abnormally enlarged perinuclear cisternae than those of the parental virus, but they were also found at the cell surface and in the culture medium. Additionally, in the gM maturation-negative mutant virus-infected melanoma cells, typical syncytium formation was rarely seen, again indicating that mature gM functions in cell-to-cell spread via enhancement of syncytium formation.
In general, enveloped viruses are highly dependent on their lipid envelope for entry into host cells. Here, we demonstrated that during the course of virus maturation, a significant proportion of human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6) envelope proteins were selectively concentrated in the detergent-resistant glycosphingolipid- and cholesterol-rich membranes (rafts) in HHV-6-infected cells. In addition, the ganglioside GM1, which is known to partition preferentially into lipid rafts, was detected in purified virions, along with viral envelope glycoproteins, gH, gL, gB, gQ1, gQ2 and gO indicating that at least one raft component was included in the viral particle during the assembly process.
The final envelopment of most herpesviruses occurs at Golgi or post-Golgi compartments, such as the trans Golgi network (TGN); however, the final envelopment site of human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6) is uncertain. In this study, we found novel pathways for HHV-6 assembly and release from T cells that differed, in part, from those of alphaherpesviruses. Electron microscopy showed that late in infection, HHV-6-infected cells were larger than uninfected cells and contained many newly formed multivesicular body (MVB)-like compartments that included small vesicles. These MVBs surrounded the Golgi apparatus. Mature virions were found in the MVBs and MVB fusion with plasma membrane, and the release of mature virions together with small vesicles was observed at the cell surface. Immunoelectron microscopy demonstrated that the MVBs contained CD63, an MVB/late endosome marker, and HHV-6 envelope glycoproteins. The viral glycoproteins also localized to internal vesicles in the MVBs and to secreted vesicles (exosomes). Furthermore, we found virus budding at TGN-associated membranes, which expressed CD63, adaptor protein (AP-1) and TGN46, and CD63 incorporation into virions. Our findings suggest that mature HHV-6 virions are released together with internal vesicles through MVBs by the cellular exosomal pathway. This scenario has significant implications for understanding HHV-6's maturation pathway.
budding and egress; exosome; final envelopment; HHV-6; MVB; TGN
Although envelope glycoprotein M (gM) is highly conserved among herpesviruses, the varicella-zoster virus (VZV) gM homolog has never been investigated. Here we characterized the VZV gM homolog and analyzed its function in VZV-infected cells. The VZV gM homolog was expressed on virions as a glycoprotein modified with a complex N-linked oligosaccharide and localized mainly to the Golgi apparatus and the trans-Golgi network in infected cells. To analyze its function, a gM deletion mutant was generated using the bacterial artificial chromosome system in Escherichia coli, and the virus was reconstituted in MRC-5 cells. VZV is highly cell associated, and infection proceeds mostly by cell-to-cell spread. Compared with wild-type VZV, the gM deletion mutant showed a 90% reduction in plaque size and 50% of the cell-to-cell spread in MRC-5 cells. The analysis of infected cells by electron microscopy revealed numerous aberrant vacuoles containing electron-dense materials in cells infected with the deletion mutant virus but not in those infected with wild-type virus. However, enveloped immature particles termed L particles were found at the same level on the surfaces of cells infected with either type of virus, indicating that envelopment without a capsid might not be impaired. These results showed that VZV gM is important for efficient cell-to-cell virus spread in cell culture, although it is not essential for virus growth.
Open reading frame 58 (ORF58) of varicella-zoster virus (VZV) lies at the 3'end of the Unique long (UL) region and its functional is unknown. In order to clarify whether ORF58 is essential for the growth of VZV, we constructed a deletion mutant of ORF58 (pOka-BACΔ58) from the Oka parental genome cloned into a bacterial artificial chromosome (pOka-BAC).
The ORF58-deleted virus (rpOkaΔ58) was reconstituted from the pOka-BACΔ58 genome in MRC-5 cells, indicating that the ORF58 gene is non-essential for virus growth. Comparison of the growth rate of rpOkaΔ58 and recombinant wild-type virus by assessing plaque sizes revealed no significant differences between them both in MRC-5 cells and malignant melanoma cells.
This study shows that the ORF58 gene is dispensable for viral replication and does not affect the virus' ability to form plaques in vitro.
The ORF49 gene product (ORF49p) of the varicella-zoster virus (VZV) is likely a myristylated tegument protein, and its homologs are conserved across the herpesvirus subfamilies. The UL11 gene of herpes simplex virus type 1 and of pseudorabies virus and the UL99 gene of human cytomegalovirus are the homologs of ORF49 and have been well characterized by using mutant viruses; however, little research on the VZV ORF49 gene has been reported. Here we report on VZV ORF49p expression, subcellular localization, and effect on viral spread in vitro. ORF49p was expressed during the late phase of infection and located in the juxtanuclear region of the cytoplasm, where it colocalized mainly with the trans-Golgi network-associated protein. ORF49p was incorporated into virions and showed a molecular mass of 13 kDa in VZV-infected cells and virions. To elucidate the role of the ORF49 gene, we constructed a mutant virus that lacked a functional ORF49. No differences in plaque size or cell-cell spread were observed in human embryonic fibroblast cells, MRC-5 cells, infected with the wild-type or the mutant virus. However, the mutant virus showed diminished cell-cell infection in a human malignant melanoma cell line, MeWo cells. Therefore, VZV ORF49p is important for virus growth in MeWo cells, but not in MRC-5 cells. VZV may use different mechanisms for virus growth in MeWo and MRC-5 cells. If so, understanding the role of ORF49p should help elucidate how VZV accomplishes cell-cell infections in different cell types.
A mass spectroscopic analysis of proteins from human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6)-infected cells showed that the HHV-6 U14 protein coimmunoprecipitated with the tumor suppressor p53. The binding of U14 to p53 was verified by coimmunoprecipitation experiments in both Molt-3 cells infected with HHV-6 and 293 cells cotransfected with U14 and p53 expression vectors. Indirect immunofluorescence assays (IFAs) showed that by 18 h postinfection (hpi) U14 localized to the dot-like structures observed in both the nucleus and cytoplasm where p53 was partly accumulated. Despite Northern blotting evidence that U14 follows late kinetics, the U14 protein was detected immediately after infection (at 3 hpi) by IFA. In addition, by Western blotting, U14 was detected at 0 hpi or in the presence of cycloheximide which completely abolished the expression of IE1 protein. In addition to U14, p53 was detected at 0 hpi although it was not detected in mock-infected cells. Furthermore, both U14 and p53 were clearly detected in the viral particles by Western blotting and immunoelectron microscopy, supporting the idea that U14 and p53 are incorporated into virions. Our study provides the first evidence of the incorporation of cellular p53 into viral particles and suggests that p53 may play an important role in viral infection.
Human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6) glycoproteins H and L (gH and gL, respectively) and the 80-kDa form of glycoprotein Q (gQ-80K) form a heterotrimeric complex that is found on the viral envelope and that is a viral ligand for human CD46. Besides gQ-80K, the gQ gene encodes an additional product whose mature molecular mass is 37 kDa (gQ-37K) and which is derived from a different transcript. Therefore, we designated gQ-80K as gQ1 and gQ-37K as gQ2. We show here that gQ2 also interacts with the gH-gL-gQ1 complex in HHV-6-infected cells and in virions. To examine how these components interact in HHV-6-infected cells, we performed pulse-chase studies. The results demonstrated that gQ2-34K, which is endo-β-N-acetylglucosaminidase H sensitive and which is the precursor form of gQ2-37K, associates with gQ1-74K, which is the precursor form of gQ1-80K, within 30 min of the pulse period. After a 1-h chase, these precursor forms had associated with the gH-gL dimer. Interestingly, an anti-gH monoclonal antibody coimmunoprecipitated mainly gQ1-80K and gQ2-37K, with little gQ1-74K or gQ2-34K. These results indicate that although gQ2-34K and gQ1-74K interact in the endoplasmic reticulum, the gH-gL-gQ1-80K-gQ2-37K heterotetrameric complex arises in the post-endoplasmic reticulum compartment. The mature complex is subsequently incorporated into viral particles.
The human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6) glycoprotein H (gH)-glycoprotein L (gL) complex associates with glycoprotein Q (gQ) (Y. Mori, P. Akkapaiboon, X. Yang, and K. Yamanishi, J. Virol. 77:2452-2458, 2003), and the gH-gL-gQ complex interacts with human CD46 (Y. Mori, X. Yang, P. Akkapaiboon, T. Okuno, and K. Yamanishi, J. Virol. 77:4992-4999, 2003). Here, we show that the HHV-6 U47 gene, which is a positional homolog of the human cytomegalovirus glycoprotein O (gO) gene, encodes a third component of the HHV-6 gH-gL-containing envelope complex. A monoclonal antibody (MAb) against the amino terminus of HHV-6 gO reacted in immunoblots with protein species migrating at 120 to 130 kDa and 74 to 80 kDa in lysates of HHV-6-infected cells and with a 74- to 80-kDa protein species in purified virions. The 80-kDa form of gO was coimmunoprecipitated with an anti-gH MAb, but an anti-gQ MAb, which coimmunoprecipitated gH, did not coprecipitate gO. Furthermore, the gH-gL-gO complex did not bind to human CD46, indicating that the complex was not a ligand for CD46. These findings suggested that the viral envelope contains at least two kinds of tripartite complexes, gH-gL-gQ and gH-gL-gO, and that the gH-gL-gO complex may play a role different from that of gH-gL-gQ during viral infection. This is the first report of two kinds of gH-gL complexes on the viral envelope in a member of the herpesvirus family.
Human CD46 is a cellular receptor for human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6). Virus entry into host cells requires a glycoprotein H (gH)-glycoprotein L (gL) complex. We show that the CD46 ectodomain blocked HHV-6 infection and bound a complex of gH-gL and the 80-kDa U100 gene product, designated glycoprotein Q, indicating that the complex is a viral ligand for CD46.
The human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6) variant A U100 gene encodes the third component of the glycoprotein H (gH)-glycoprotein L (gL)-containing complex. Glycosidase digestion analysis showed that the U100 gene products are glycoproteins consisting of an 80-kDa protein with complex N-linked oligosaccharides and a 74-kDa protein with immature, high-mannose N-linked oligosaccharides. Based on these characteristics, we designated the U100 gene products glycoprotein Q (gQ). Only the 80-kDa form of gQ was coimmunoprecipitated with an anti-gH antibody, suggesting that the 80-kDa protein associates with the gH-gL complex in HHV-6-infected cells. Furthermore, the complex was detected in purified virions, suggesting that it may play an important role in viral entry.
The DNA sequences of the Oka varicella vaccine virus (V-Oka) and its parental virus (P-Oka) were completed. Comparison of the sequences revealed 42 base substitutions, which led to 20 amino acid conversions and length differences in tandem repeat regions (R1, R3, and R4) and in an origin of DNA replication. Amino acid substitutions existed in open reading frames (ORFs) 6, 9A, 10, 21, 31, 39, 50, 52, 55, 59, 62, and 64. Of these, 15 base substitutions, leading to eight amino acid substitutions, were in the gene 62 region alone. Further DNA sequence analysis showed that these substitutions were specific for V-Oka and were not present in nine clinical isolates. The immediate-early gene 62 product (IE62) of P-Oka had stronger transactivational activity than the mutant IE62 contained in V-Oka in 293 and CV-1 cells. An infectious center assay of a plaque-purified clone (S7-01) from the V-Oka with 8 amino acid substitutions in ORF 62 showed smaller plaque formation and less-efficient virus-spreading activity than did P-Oka in human embryonic lung cells. Another clone (S-13) with only five substitutions in ORF 62 spread slightly faster than S7-01 but not as effectively as P-Oka. Moreover, transient luciferase assay in 293 cells showed that transactivational activities of IE62s of S7-01 and S7-13 were lower than that of P-Oka. Based on these results, it appears that amino acid substitutions in ORF 62 are responsible for virus growth and spreading from infected to uninfected cells. Furthermore, the Oka vaccine virus was completely distinguishable from P-Oka and 54 clinical isolates by seven restriction-enzyme fragment length polymorphisms that detected differences in the DNA sequence.
Human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6) is a lymphotropic betaherpesvirus that productively infects T cells and monocytes. HHV-6 isolates can be differentiated into two groups, variants A and B (HHV-6A and HHV-6B). Here, we show a functional difference between HHV-6A and -6B in that HHV-6A induced syncytium formation of diverse human cells but HHV-6B did not. The syncytium formation induced by HHV-6A was observed 2 h after infection; moreover, it was found in the presence of cycloheximide, indicating that HHV-6A induced fusion from without (FFWO) in the target cells. Furthermore, the fusion event was dependent on the expression of the HHV-6 entry receptor, CD46, on the target cell membrane. In addition, we determined that short consensus repeat 2 (SCR2), -3, and -4 of the CD46 ectodomain were essential for the formation of the virus-induced syncytia. Monoclonal antibodies against glycoproteins B and H of HHV-6A inhibited the fusion event, indicating that the syncytium formation induced by HHV-6A required glycoproteins H and B. These findings suggest that FFWO, which HHV-6A induced in a variety of cell lines, may play an important role in the pathogenesis of HHV-6A, not only in lymphocytes but also in various tissues, because CD46 is expressed ubiquitously in human tissues.
We have characterized the human herpesvirus 6B (HHV-6B) rep gene, which is a homologue of the adeno-associated virus type 2 rep and is unique in the herpesvirus family. Three transcripts, 9.0, 5.0, and 2.7 kb (the major transcript), were detected by Northern blotting using an HHV-6B rep probe under late conditions. We investigated the expression kinetics of the rep gene using cycloheximide (CHX) and phosphonoformic acid (PFA), which are inhibitors of protein synthesis and viral DNA synthesis, respectively. The 5.2-kb transcript was mainly detected in the absence of protein biosynthesis upon infection, and none of the 9.0-, 5.0-, and 2.7-kb transcripts detected under the late conditions were detected in the presence of CHX and PFA. Sequences obtained from a cDNA library showed that the 5.0- and 2.7-kb transcripts were spliced from two and three exons, respectively, and the 2.7-kb transcript was more abundant. Immunohistochemistry using an antibody raised against the HHV-6 rep gene product (REP) revealed that REP was mainly present in the nucleus of MT-4 cells within 24 h after infection with HHV-6B. Using pull-down assays, coimmunoprecipitation, and a mammalian two hybrid system, we showed that HHV-6 REP binds to a transcription factor, human TATA-binding protein, through its N-terminal region.
Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV), or human herpesvirus 8 (HHV-8), belongs to the gammaherpesvirus subfamily and encodes ∼80 open reading frames (ORFs). Among them are a few candidates for immediate-early genes (e.g., K5). We developed a monoclonal antibody (MAb), 328C7, against the K5 antigen. This MAb reacted with the K5 gene product by immunoscreening of a cDNA library from BCBL-1 cells, and this result was confirmed by transfection of the K5 ORF into Cos-7 cells. After induction of lytic infection by treatment with 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate, MAb 328C7 reacted with an antigen in the cytoplasm of BCBL-1 and BC-3 cells as early as after 4 h of induction. Immunoelectron microscopy showed that the K5 antigen was situated mainly in the endoplasmic reticulum but was not present on the virion or in the nucleus. Northern blotting with a K5-specific probe revealed a single transcript of 1.2 kb, while Western blotting showed the antigen to be a 36-kDa polypeptide. The 5′ and 3′ ends were then determined by rapid amplification of cDNA, followed by sequencing of RACE products, and a splice was revealed upstream of the K5 ORF. K5 expression was unaffected by the respective DNA and protein synthesis inhibitors phosphonoformic acid and cycloheximide plus actinomycin D, confirming its immediate-early nature. Transient-transfection assays showed that the K5 promoter was transactivated by ORF 50 (KSHV Rta), a homolog of Epstein-Barr virus Rta, but the K5 gene product exhibited no transregulation of its own promoter or those of DNA polymerase and the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 long terminal repeat. This is the first such analysis of an immediate-early gene product; determination of its specific biological function requires further investigation.