Cowpox virus contains two copies of an early gene encoding a soluble secreted form of the type II TNF receptor.
The inverted terminal repeats of the DNA of cowpox virus (Brighton Red strain) contain the crmB gene, an additional member of a family of viral genes that modify cytokine responses to infection. The crmB gene is transcribed from an early promoter. The primary product is a 355-amino-acid protein containing a signal peptide sequence and three potential N-linked glycosylation sites. The mature gene product is a secreted soluble protein that has an apparent molecular mass of 48 kDa. TNF alpha and TNF beta bind to this protein in a competitive manner, consistent with the sequence of its N-terminal 176 amino acids, which closely resembles the ligand-binding domains of the type II (75-kDa) human TNF receptor. The sequence of the C-terminal 161 amino acids of the CrmB protein is unlike that of human TNF receptors, but overall, the CrmB protein is similar to the T2 proteins of the leporipoxviruses (48% identity) and the predicted product of the G4R/G2R open reading frame of variola virus (85% identity), suggesting that not only the TNF-binding domains but also the C-terminal regions contribute to the functions of these viral proteins. These results show that orthopoxiviruses such as cowpox virus encode secreted forms of TNF receptors that can contribute to the modification of TNF-mediated antiviral processes.
Hu, FQ; Smith, CA; Pickup, DJ
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