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The Golgi sorting motifs of human cytomegalovirus UL138 are not required for latency maintenance

Gelbmann, Christopher B., Kalejta, Robert F.
Virus research 2019 v.270 pp. 197646
Human betaherpesvirus 5, gene expression, gene expression regulation, models, mutants, progeny, protein transport, transcription (genetics), virion
Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) establishes latency within incompletely differentiated cells of the myeloid lineage. The viral protein UL138 participates in establishing and maintaining this latent state. UL138 has multiple functions during latency that include silencing productive phase viral gene transcription and modulating intracellular protein trafficking. Trafficking and subsequent downregulation of the multidrug resistance-associated protein 1 (MRP1) by UL138 is mediated by one of four Golgi sorting motifs within UL138. Here we investigate whether any of the Golgi sorting motifs of UL138 are required for the establishment and/or maintenance of HCMV latency in model cell systems in vitro. We determined that a mutant UL138 protein lacking an acidic cluster dileucine sorting motif unable to downregulate MRP1, as well as another mutant lacking all four Golgi sorting motifs still silenced viral immediate early (IE) gene expression and prevented progeny virion formation during latency. We conclude that the Golgi sorting motifs are not required for latency establishment or maintenance in model cell systems in vitro.