Nonenvelopment role for the ESCRTIII complex during human cytomegalovirus infection

Nicholas T. Streck, Jillian Carmichael, Nicholas J. Buchkovich

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21 Scopus citations


Secondary envelopment of human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) occurs through a mechanism that is poorly understood. Many enveloped viruses utilize the endosomal sorting complexes required for transport (ESCRTs) for viral budding and envelopment. Although there are conflicting reports on the role of the ESCRT AAA ATPase protein VPS4 in HCMV infection, VPS4 may act in an envelopment role similar to its function during other viral infections. Because VPS4 is normally recruited by the ESCRT-III complex, we hypothesized that ESCRT-III subunits would also be required for HCMV infection. We investigated the role of ESCRT-III, the core ESCRT scission complex, during the late stages of infection. We show that inducible expression of dominant negative ESCRT-III subunits during infection blocks endogenous ESCRT function but does not inhibit virus production. We also show that HCMV forms enveloped intracellular and extracellular virions in the presence of dominant negative ESCRT-III subunits, suggesting that ESCRT-III is not involved in the envelopment of HCMV. We also found that as with ESCRT-III, inducible expression of a dominant negative form of VPS4A did not inhibit the envelopment of virions or reduce virus titers. Thus, HCMV does not require the ESCRTs for secondary envelopment. However, we found that ESCRT-III subunits are required for efficient virus spread. This suggests a role for ESCRT-III during the spread of HCMV that is independent of viral envelopment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere02096-17
JournalJournal of virology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jun 1 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Insect Science
  • Virology


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