Research ArticleSTRUCTURAL BIOLOGY

Prefusion structure of human cytomegalovirus glycoprotein B and structural basis for membrane fusion

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Science Advances  05 Mar 2021:
Vol. 7, no. 10, eabf3178
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abf3178

Abstract

Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) causes congenital disease with long-term morbidity. HCMV glycoprotein B (gB) transitions irreversibly from a metastable prefusion to a stable postfusion conformation to fuse the viral envelope with a host cell membrane during entry. We stabilized prefusion gB on the virion with a fusion inhibitor and a chemical cross-linker, extracted and purified it, and then determined its structure to 3.6-Å resolution by electron cryomicroscopy. Our results revealed the structural rearrangements that mediate membrane fusion and details of the interactions among the fusion loops, the membrane-proximal region, transmembrane domain, and bound fusion inhibitor that stabilized gB in the prefusion state. The structure rationalizes known gB antigenic sites. By analogy to successful vaccine antigen engineering approaches for other viral pathogens, the high-resolution prefusion gB structure provides a basis to develop stabilized prefusion gB HCMV vaccine antigens.

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