CD147 promotes entry of pentamer-expressing human cytomegalovirus into epithelial and endothelial cells

Adam L. Vanarsdall, Sarah R. Pritchard, Todd W. Wisner, Jing Liu, Ted S. Jardetzky, David C. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) replicates in many diverse cell types in vivo, and entry into different cells involves distinct entry mechanisms and different envelope glycoproteins. HCMV glycoprotein gB is thought to act as the virus fusogen, apparently after being triggered by different gH/gL proteins that bind distinct cellular receptors or entry mediators. A trimer of gH/gL/gO is required for entry into all cell types, and entry into fibroblasts involves trimer binding to platelet-derived growth factor receptor alpha (PDGFRα). HCMV entry into biologically relevant epithelial and endothelial cells and monocyte-macrophages also requires a pentamer, gH/gL complexed with UL128, UL130, and UL131, and there is evidence that the pentamer binds unidentified receptors. We screened an epithelial cell cDNA library and identified the cell surface protein CD147, which increased entry of pentamerexpressing HCMV into HeLa cells but not entry of HCMV that lacked the pentamer. A panel of CD147-specific monoclonal antibodies inhibited HCMV entry into epithelial and endothelial cells, but not entry into fibroblasts. shRNA silencing of CD147 in endothelial cells inhibited HCMV entry but not entry into fibroblasts. CD147 colocalized with HCMV particles on cell surfaces and in endosomes. CD147 also promoted cellcell fusion induced by expression of pentamer and gB in epithelial cells. However, soluble CD147 did not block HCMV entry and trimer and pentamer did not bind directly to CD147, supporting the hypothesis that CD147 acts indirectly through other proteins. CD147 represents the first HCMV entry mediator that specifically functions to promote entry of pentamer-expressing HCMV into epithelial and endothelial cells. IMPORTANCE Human cytomegalovirus infects nearly 80% of the world’s population and causes significant morbidity and mortality. The current method of treatment involves the use of antiviral agents that are prone to resistance and can be highly toxic to patients; currently, there is no vaccine against HCMV available. HCMV infections involve virus dissemination throughout the body, infecting a wide variety of tissues; however, the mechanism of spread is not well understood, particularly with regard to which cellular proteins are utilized by HCMV to establish infection. This report describes the characterization of a newly identified cellular molecule that affects HCMV entry into epithelial and endothelial cells. These results will lead to a better understanding of HCMV pathogenesis and have implications for the development of future therapeutics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere00781-18
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2018


  • HCMV entry
  • HCMV entry mediator
  • HCMV pentamer
  • HCMV trimer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Virology


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