Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) causes asymptomatic infections, but also causes congenital infections when women were infected with HCMV during pregnancy, and life-threatening diseases in immunocompromised patients. To better understand the mechanism of the neutralization activity against HCMV, the association of HCMV NT antibody titers was assessed with the antibody titers against each glycoprotein complex (gc) of HCMV.
Sera collected from 78 healthy adult volunteers were used. HCMV Merlin strain and HCMV clinical isolate strain 1612 were used in the NT assay with the plaque reduction assay, in which both the MRC-5 fibroblasts cells and the RPE-1 epithelial cells were used. Glycoprotein complex of gB, gH/gL complexes (gH/gL/gO and gH/gL/UL128-131A [PC]) and gM/gN were selected as target glycoproteins. 293FT cells expressed with gB, gM/gN, gH/gL/gO, or PC, were prepared and used for the measurement of the antibody titers against each gc in an indirect immunofluorescence assay (IIFA). The correlation between the IIFA titers to each gc and the HCMV-NT titers was evaluated.
There were no significant correlations between gB-specific IIFA titers and the HCMV-NT titers in epithelial cells or between gM/gN complex-specific IIFA titers and the HCMV-NT titers. On the other hand, there was a statistically significant positive correlation between the IIFA titers to gH/gL complexes and HCMV-NT titers.
The data suggest that the gH/gL complexes might be the major target to induce NT activity against HCMV.