The signal peptide of the ebolavirus glycoprotein influences interaction with the cellular lectins DC-SIGN and DC-SIGNR.
The C-type lectins DC-SIGN and DC-SIGNR (collectively referred to as DC-SIGN/R) bind to the ebolavirus glycoprotein (EBOV-GP) and augment viral infectivity. DC-SIGN/R strongly enhance infection driven by the GP of EBOV subspecies. Zaire (ZEBOV) but have a much less pronounced effect on infection mediated by the GP of EBOV subspecies. Sudan (SEBOV). For this study, we analyzed the determinants of the differential DC-SIGN/R interactions with ZEBOV- and SEBOV-GP. The efficiency of DC-SIGN engagement by ZEBOV-GP was dependent on the rate of GP incorporation into lentiviral particles, while appreciable virion incorporation of SEBOV-GP did not allow robust DC-SIGN/R usage. Forced incorporation of high-mannose carbohydrates into SEBOV-GP augmented the engagement of DC-SIGN/R to the levels observed with ZEBOV-GP, indicating that appropriate glycosylation of SEBOV-GP is sufficient for efficient DC-SIGN/R usage. However, neither signals for N-linked glycosylation unique to SEBOV-or ZEBOV-GP nor the highly variable and heavily glycosylated mucin-like domain modulated the interaction with DC-SIGN/R. In contrast, analysis of chimeric GPs identified the signal peptide as a determinant of DC-SIGN/R engagement. Thus, ZEBOV-but not SEBOV-GP was shown to harbor high-mannose carbohydrates, and GP modification with these glycans was controlled by the signal peptide. These results suggest that the signal peptide governs EBOV-GP interactions with DC-SIGN/R by modulating the incorporation of high-mannose carbohydrates into EBOV-GP. In summary, we identified the level of GP incorporation into virions and signal peptide-controlled glycosylation of GP as determinants of attachment factor engagement.