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Thäle, Regine; Lucin, Pero; Schneider, Karin; Eggers, Maren and Koszinowski, Ulrich H. (1994): Identification and expression of a murine cytomegalovirus early gene coding for an Fc receptor. In: Journal of virology, Vol. 68: pp. 7757-7765 [PDF, 2MB]

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Several herpesviruses, including cytomegalovirus, induce receptors for the Fc domain of murine immunoglobulin G (IgG) molecules. Viral genes coding for these receptors have been characterized only for alphaherpesviruses. In this report, we describe a new approach that led to the identification of an Fc receptor (FcR) of murine cytomegalovirus (MCMV). The Fc fragment of IgG precipitated glycoproteins (gp) of 86 to 88 and 105 kDa from MCMV-infected cells. Deglycosylation by endoglycosidase F resulted in a protein with a molecular mass of 64 kDa. Injection of complete MCMV DNA or of DNA fragments, and the subsequent testing of cytoplasmic binding of IgG by immunofluorescence microscopy, was used to search for the coding region in the MCMV genome. The gene was located in the HindIII J fragment, map units 0.838 to 0.846, where an open reading frame of 1,707 nucleotides predicts a gp of 569 amino acids with a calculated molecular mass of 65 kDa. The sequence of this gp is related to those of the gE proteins of herpes simplex virus type 1 and varicella-zoster virus. The defined length of the mRNA, 1,838 nucleotides, was in agreement with that of a 1.9-kb RNA expressed throughout the replication cycle, starting at the early stages of infection. Expression of the gene fcr1 by recombinant vaccinia virus resulted in the synthesis of gp86/88 and gp105, each with FcR properties, and the correct identification of the gene encoding the FcR was confirmed by the DNA injection method.

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