The entry of enveloped viruses into host cells is preceded by membrane fusion, which in Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is thought to be mediated by the refolding of glycoprotein B (gB) from a prefusion to a postfusion state. In our current studies, we characterized a gB C-terminal tail domain (CTD) mutant truncated at amino acid 843 (gB843). This truncation mutant is hyperfusogenic as monitored by syncytium formation and in a quantitative fusion assay and is dependent on gH/gL for fusion activity. gB843 can rescue the fusion function of other glycoprotein mutants that have null or decreased fusion activity in epithelial and B cells. In addition, gB843 requires less gp42 and gH/gL for fusion, and can function in fusion at a lower temperature than wild-type gB, indicating a lower energy requirement for fusion activation. Since a key step in fusion is the conversion of gB from a prefusion to an active postfusion state by gH/gL, gB843 may access this activated gB state more readily. Our studies indicate that the gB CTD may participate in the fusion function by maintaining gB in an inactive prefusion form prior to activation by receptor binding.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science