Alphaherpesvirus glycoproteins gE and gI form a noncovalently associated hetero-oligomeric complex, which is involved in cell-to-cell spread. In the absence of gI, feline herpesvirus (FHV) gE is transport incompetent and fully retained in the endoplasmic reticulum. Here, we assess the effect of progressive C-terminal truncations of FHV gI on the biosynthesis, intracellular transport, and function of the gE-gI complex. The truncated gI proteins were coexpressed with gE in the vaccinia virus-based vTF7-3 expression system. The results were corroborated and extended by studying FHV recombinants expressing truncated gI derivatives. The following conclusions can be drawn. (i) Deletion of the cytoplasmic tail, the transmembrane region plus the C-terminal half of the ectodomain of gI, does not affect intracellular transport of gE. Apparently, the N-terminal 166 residues of gI constitute a domain involved in gE-gI interaction. (ii) A region mediating stable association with gE is located within the N-terminal 93 residues of gI. (iii) The cytoplasmic domain of gI is not essential for gE-gI-mediated cell-to-cell transmission of FHV, as judged from plaque morphology. Deletion of the cytoplasmic tail of gI reduced plaque size by only 35%. (iv) Recombinants expressing the N-terminal 166 residues of gI display a small- plaque phenotype but produce larger plaques than recombinants with a disrupted gI gene. Thus, a complex consisting of gE and the N-terminal half of the gI ectodomain may retain residual biological activity. The implications of these findings for gE-gI interaction and function are discussed.
|Number of pages||8|
|Journal||Journal of Virology|
|Publication status||Published - Nov 1997|
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