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Modulation of CD112 by the alphaherpesvirus gD protein suppresses DNAM-1–dependent NK cell-mediated lysis of infected cells

Grauwet, Korneel, Cantoni, Claudia, Parodi, Monica, De Maria, Andrea, Devriendt, Bert, Pende, Daniela, Moretta, Lorenzo, Vitale, Massimo, Favoreel, Herman W.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 2014 v.111 no.45 pp. 16118-16123
Human herpesvirus 2, Suid herpesvirus 1, glycoproteins, immune evasion, natural killer cells, pathogens, vaccines, viruses
Natural killer (NK) cells are key players in the innate response to viruses, including herpesviruses. In particular, the variety of viral strategies to modulate the recognition of certain herpesviruses witnesses the importance of NK cells in the control of this group of viruses. Still, NK evasion strategies have remained largely elusive for the largest herpesvirus subfamily, the alphaherpesviruses. Here, we report that the gD glycoprotein of the alphaherpesviruses pseudorabies virus (PRV) and herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV-2) displays previously uncharacterized immune evasion properties toward NK cells. Expression of gD during infection or transfection led to degradation and consequent down-regulation of CD112, a ligand for the activating NK receptor DNAX accessory molecule 1 (DNAM-1). CD112 downregulation resulted in a reduced ability of DNAM-1 to bind to the surface of both virus-infected and gD-transfected cells. Consequently, expression of gD suppressed NK cell degranulation and NK cell-mediated lysis of PRV- or HSV-2–infected cells. These data identify an alphaherpesvirus evasion strategy from NK cells and point out that interactions between viral envelope proteins and host cell receptors can have biological consequences that stretch beyond virus entry.