Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is a ubiquitous pathogen that can cause disability in newborns and serious clinical diseases in immunocompromised patients. HCMV has a large genome with enormous coding potential; its viral particles are equipped with complicated glycoprotein complexes and can infect a wide range of human cells. Although multiple host cellular receptors interacting with viral glycoproteins have been reported, the mechanism of HCMV infection remains a mystery. Here we report identification of adipocyte plasma membrane-associated protein (APMAP) as a novel modulator active in the early stage of HCMV infection. APMAP is necessary for HCMV infection in both epithelial cells and fibroblasts; knockdown of APMAP expression significantly reduced HCMV infection of these cells. Interestingly, ectopic expression of human APMAP in cells refractory to HCMV infection, such as canine MDCK and murine NIH/3T3 cells, promoted HCMV infection. Furthermore, reduction in viral immediate early (IE) gene transcription at 6 h post infection and delayed nucleus translocation of tegument delivered pp65 at 4 h post infection were detected in APMAP-deficient cells but not in the wildtype cells. These results suggest that APMAP plays a role in the early stage of HCMV infection. Results from biochemical studies of APMAP and HCMV proteins suggest that APMAP could participate in HCMV infection through interaction with gH/gL containing glycoprotein complexes at low pH and mediate nucleus translocation of tegument pp65. Taken together, our results suggest that APMAP functions as a modulator promoting HCMV infection in multiple cell types and is an important player in the complex HCMV infection mechanism.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology