Serum antibody response to the gH/gL/pUL128-131 five-protein complex of human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) in primary and reactivated HCMV infections

Emilia Genini, Elena Percivalle, Antonella Sarasini, M. Grazia Revello, Fausto Baldanti, Giuseppe Gerna

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Recently, a new human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) glycoprotein complex has been identified and potentially proposed as a vaccine. Objective: The aim of this study was to determine whether the HCMV gH/gL/pUL128-pUL130-pUL131 (gH/gL/pUL128-131) 5-protein (pentameric) complex (which has been recently found to be indispensable for the infection of endothelial and epithelial cells) is able to elicit a consistent antibody response in both primary and reactivated HCMV infections. Study design: The antibody response was determined by both indirect immunofluorescence (IFA) and ELISA, using fixed (IFA) or lysed (ELISA) epithelial (ARPE-19) cells infected with one or more adenoviral vectors, each carrying one HCMV gene and, in parallel, with a control adenovirus vector. Results: The specificity of results was determined by the reactivity of human neutralizing mAbs recognizing two, three, or four proteins of the complex. In 14 cases of primary infection, an IgG antibody seroconversion to the UL128-131 gene products was consistently detected within 2-4 weeks after onset of infection, while antibodies persisted for at least 12 months. The IgG antibody response to UL128-131 gene products was generally superior to the response to gH and appeared to follow the neutralizing antibody response (as determined in epithelial cells). In reactivated infections, the antibody response showed a trend reminiscent of a booster response. IgG antibodies were detected in HCMV-seropositive healthy adult controls, but not in HCMV-seronegative individuals. Conclusions: The IgG antibody response to the pentameric complex could be a major target for the evaluation of the antibody response to a pentamer-based vaccine.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-118
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Clinical Virology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2011


  • GH/gL/pUL128-131 complex
  • HCMV
  • IgG antibody
  • Primary infection
  • Vaccine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Virology
  • Infectious Diseases


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