Human cytomegalovirus US28 facilitates cell-to-cell viral dissemination

Vanessa M. Noriega, Thomas J. Gardner, Veronika Redmann, Gerold Bongers, Sergio A. Lira, Domenico Tortorella

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) encodes a number of viral proteins with homology to cellular G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs). These viral GPCRs, including US27, US28, UL33, and UL78, have been ascribed numerous functions during infection, including activating diverse cellular pathways, binding to immunomodulatory chemokines, and impacting virus dissemination. To investigate the role of US28 during virus infection, two variants of the clinical isolate TB40/E were generated: TB40/E-US28YFP expressing a C-terminal yellow fluorescent protein tag, and TB40/E-FLAGYFP in which a FLAG-YFP cassette replaces the US28 coding region. The TB40/E-US28YFP protein localized as large perinuclear fluorescent structures at late times post-infection in fibroblasts, endothelial, and epithelial cells. Interestingly, US28YFP is a non-glycosylated membrane protein throughout the course of infection. US28 appears to impact cell-to-cell spread of virus, as the ΔUS28 virus (TB40/E-FLAGYFP) generated a log-greater yield of extracellular progeny whose spread could be significantly neutralized in fibroblasts. Most strikingly, in epithelial cells, where dissemination of virus occurs exclusively by the cell-to-cell route, TB40/E-FLAGYFP (ΔUS28) displayed a significant growth defect. The data demonstrates that HCMV US28 may contribute at a late stage of the viral life cycle to cell-to-cell dissemination of virus.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1202-1218
Number of pages17
Issue number3
StatePublished - 12 Mar 2014


  • BAC recombineering
  • Human cytomegalovirus
  • Membrane protein biology
  • Viral GPCR US28
  • Virus dissemination
  • Virus growth


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