Cellular localization and antigenic characterization of Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus glycoproteins

Andrea Bertolotti-Ciarlet, Jonathan Smith, Karin Strecker, Jason Paragas, Louis A. Altamura, Jeanne M. McFalls, Natalia Frias-Stäheli, Adolfo García-Sastre, Connie S. Schmaljohn, Robert W. Doms

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Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus (CCHFV), a member of the genus Nairovirus of the family Bunyaviridae, causes severe disease with high rates of mortality in humans. The CCHFV M RNA segment encodes the virus glycoproteins GN and GC. To understand the processing and intracellular localization of the CCHFV glycoproteins as well as their neutralization and protection determinants, we produced and characterized monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) specific for both GN and GC. Using these MAbs, we found that GN predominantly colocalized with a Golgi marker when expressed alone or with GC, while GC was transported to the Golgi apparatus only in the presence of GN. Both proteins remained endo-β-N-acetylglucosaminidase H sensitive, indicating that the CCHFV glycoproteins are most likely targeted to the cis Golgi apparatus. Golgi targeting information partly resides within the GN ectodomain, because a soluble version of GN lacking its transmembrane and cytoplasmic domains also localized to the Golgi apparatus. Coexpression of soluble versions of GN and GC also resulted in localization of soluble GC to the Golgi apparatus, indicating that the ectodomains of these proteins are sufficient for the interactions needed for Golgi targeting. Finally, the mucin-like and P35 domains, located at the N terminus of the GN precursor protein and removed posttranslationally by endoprotcolysis, were required for Golgi targeting of GN when it was expressed alone but were dispensable when GC was coexpressed. In neutralization assays on SW-13 cells, MAbs to GC, but not to G N, prevented CCHFV infection. However, only a subset of GC MAbs protected mice in passive-immunization experiments, while some nonneutralizing GN MAbs efficiently protected animals from a lethal CCHFV challenge. Thus, neutralization of CCHFV likely depends not only on the properties of the antibody, but on host cell factors as well. In addition, nonneutralizing antibody-dependent mechanisms, such as antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity, may be involved in the in vivo protection seen with the MAbs to GC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6152-6161
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Virology
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 2005


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