Cowpox virus genome encodes a second soluble homologue of cellular TNF receptors, distinct from CrmB, that binds TNF but not LT alpha.
We show the cowpox genome (Brighton Red strain) contains a single copy gene, crmC, expressed at late times during viral infection, encoding a soluble, secreted protein whose sequence marks it as a new member of the TNF receptor family. The cysteine-rich protein contains 186 amino acids, the N-terminal 21 of which constitute a signal peptide, and two potential N-linked glycosylation sites. The approximately 25-kDa recombinant protein binds TNF specifically and completely inhibits TNF-mediated cytolysis. The strongest sequence homologues are the ligand-binding regions of the type II cellular TNF receptor (TNFRII) and CrmB, a distinct pox virus gene also encoding a soluble TNF binding protein. Unlike TNFRII and CrmB, CrmC does not bind lymphotoxin (LT alpha, TNF beta) and lacks the conserved (but nonhomologous) approximately 150-residue C-terminal domain of CrmB proteins. The presumed function of CrmC is viral inhibition of host-elicited TNF.
Smith, CA; Hu, FQ; Smith, TD; Richards, CL; Smolak, P; Goodwin, RG; Pickup, DJ
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