The human cytomegalovirus US27 gene product enhances cell proliferation and alters cellular gene expression

Virus Res. 2013 Sep;176(1-2):312-20. doi: 10.1016/j.virusres.2013.07.002. Epub 2013 Jul 11.


Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is a prevalent pathogen worldwide. Although generally harmless in healthy individuals, HCMV can pose a serious threat to immune compromised individuals and developing fetuses in utero. HCMV encodes four genes predicted to give rise to G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs): US27, US28, UL33, and UL78. The US28 gene product is a functional chemokine receptor that enhances cell growth in some cell types but induces apoptosis in others. In contrast, the US27 gene product has not been demonstrated to signal either constitutively or in a ligand-induced manner. In this study, US27 was expressed in transfected cells, and both cell proliferation and DNA synthesis were significantly increased compared to control cells. PCR array analysis revealed that expression of US27 led to changes in a limited number of cellular genes, but genes that were up-regulated included the pro-survival factor Bcl-x, AP-1 transcription factor components jun and fos, and the IL-6 family cytokine oncostatin M. These results demonstrate that US27 can impact host cell physiology and may shed light on the function of this orphan viral GPCR.

Keywords: Chemokine receptor; Cytomegalovirus; GPCR; HCMV.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Cell Line
  • Cell Proliferation*
  • Cytomegalovirus / physiology*
  • DNA / biosynthesis
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions*
  • Humans
  • Receptors, Chemokine / metabolism*
  • Viral Proteins / metabolism*


  • Receptors, Chemokine
  • US27 protein, human cytomegalovirus
  • Viral Proteins
  • DNA