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The Guinea pig cytomegalovirus GP119.1 gene encodes an IgG‐binding glycoprotein that is incorporated into the virion
Microbiology and Immunology  (IF1.955),  Pub Date : 2020-12-08, DOI: 10.1111/1348-0421.12867
Ryuichi Majima, Tetsuo Koshizuka, Naoki Inoue

Cytomegaloviruses (CMVs) encode various immunoevasins, including viral receptors for the Fc domain of host IgG (vFcγR), to evade host immune responses. Although guinea pig CMV (GPCMV) provides a useful animal model for congenital CMV infection, the GPCMV genes encoding such receptors have not yet been characterized. In this study, we analyzed a locus that may encode gene products for the GPCMV immune evasion mechanisms and identified the following. (a) RACE analyses identified four transcripts in the GP117 to GP122 locus. One of the transcripts contained the GP119.1 ORF, which has weak homologies with human CMV UL119/UL118 encoding a viral FcγR and with guinea pig FcγR. (b) A transient transfection assay with plasmids expressing EGFP‐tagged GP119.1 or its mutated forms identified its true translational initiation site, localization mainly in the endoplasmic reticulum, and N‐glycosylation. (c) Importantly, GP119.1 bound to guinea pig IgG or the IgG‐Fc fragment. (d) GP119.1 is present in the virion with a molecular mass of 15 and 23~30 kDa, and a portion of the GP119.1 products are N‐glycosylated. (e) GP119.1 was dispensable for viral growth on guinea pig fibroblasts and epithelial cells in vitro. Taken together, our findings indicate that GP119.1 is an IgG‐Fc binding glycoprotein incorporated into the virion, and this finding warrants further studies on the functions of GP119.1 in animal models.