Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is a human gammaherpesvirus associated with malignancies of both epithelial and lymphoid origin. Efficient infection of the latent host reservoir B lymphocytes involves the binding of glycoproteins gp350/220 for initial attachment, followed by the concerted action of gH, gL, gB, and gp42 for membrane fusion. The type II membrane protein gp42 is required for infection of B cells and assembles into a complex with gH and gL. The cellular host receptor for gp42, class II human leukocyte antigen (HLA), has been structurally verified by crystallization analyses of gp42 bound to HLA-DR1. Interestingly, the crystal structure revealed a hydrophobic pocket consisting of many aromatic and aliphatic residues from the predicted C-type lectin domain of gp42 that in other members of the C-type lectin family binds major histocompatibility complex class I or other diverse ligands. Although the hydrophobic pocket does not bind HLA class II, mutational analyses presented here indicate that this domain is essential for EBV-induced membrane fusion. In addition, mutational analysis of the region of gp42 contacting HLA class II in the gp42-HLA-DR1 cocrystal confirms that this region interacts with HLA class II and that this interaction is also important for EBV-induced membrane fusion.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science