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Wu, Yiquan; Prager, Adrian; Boos, Simone; Resch, Moritz; Brizic, Ilija; Mach, Michael; Wildner, Sabrina; Scrivano, Laura; Adler, Barbara (2017): Human cytomegalovirus glycoprotein complex gH/gL/gO uses PDGFR-alpha as a key for entry.
In: PLOS Pathogens 13(4), e1006281


Herpesvirus gH/gL envelope glycoprotein complexes are key players in virus entry as ligands for host cell receptors and by promoting fusion of viral envelopes with cellular membranes. Human cytomegalovirus ( HCMV) has two alternative gH/gL complexes, gH/gL/gO and gH/gL/UL128,130,131A which both shape the HCMV tropism. By studying binding of HCMV particles to fibroblasts, we could for the first time show that virion gH/gL/gO binds to platelet-derived growth factor-alpha (PDGFR-alpha) on the surface of fibroblasts and that gH/gL/gO either directly or indirectly recruits gB to this complex. PDGFR-alpha functions as an entry receptor for HCMV expressing gH/gL/gO, but not for HCMV mutants lacking the gH/gL/gO complex. PDGFR-alpha-dependent entry is not dependent on activation of PDGFR-alpha. We could also show that the gH/gL/gO-PDGFR-alpha interaction starts the predominant entry pathway for infection of fibroblasts with free virus. Cell-associated virus spread is either driven by gH/gL/gO interacting with PDGFR-alpha or by the gH/gL/UL128,130,131A complex. PDGFR-alpha-positive cells may thus be preferred first target cells for infections with free virus which might have implications for the design of future HCMV vaccines or anti-HCMV drugs.