Human cytomegalovirus UL49 encodes an early, virion-associated protein essential for virus growth in human foreskin fibroblasts.Arch Virol. 2016 May; 161(5):1273-84.AV
Despite recent results of deletion experiments showing that open reading frame (ORF) UL49 of human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is essential, the expression, function and functional location of its encoded protein remain unknown. We generated an antibody specific for pUL49 to investigate the protein product encoded by the UL49 ORF and identified its function in HCMV-infected host foreskin fibroblasts. A bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) of HCMV strain Towne (pRV-Towne) and the UL49-deleted mutant pRV-delUL49Towne were used to observe virus growth by plaque assay. Using a UL49-protein-binding antibody, we located pUL49 in the fibroblast cytoplasm. pUL49 exhibited expression kinetics resembling those of the class β-2 proteins and was detected in the virion tegument. Following deletion of UL49 ORF, the virus failed to replicate, but it could be recovered by addition of pUL49 from pCDNA3.1 (+)-UL49. Our findings indicate that UL49 ORF is essential for HCMV replication in host foreskin fibroblasts.