Polyclonal anti-idiotype antibodies (anti-ids) to anti-bovine herpesvirus 1 (BHV-1) MAbs blocked virus infection in cell cultures, indicating that they contain internal images of a viral attachment protein(s). In the present study anti-id (anti-83) of BHV-1 gB was used as a probe to detect the cellular receptor. Anti-id specifically identified a 56 kDa protein in radioimmunoprecipitation analysis (RIPA) of Madin-Darby bovine kidney (MDBK) cell membranes suggesting the involvement of this cell surface component in BHV-1 binding. Anti-83 pretreated with MAb 83 failed to identify the 56 kDa cellular component proving its specificity for the reacting epitope of MAb 83. The recognition of 56 kDa protein by anti-id was inhibited by prior incubation of radiolabelled membrane proteins with BHV-1 suggesting that the ligands competed for the same binding sites on the cells. S-Radiolabelled BHV-1 virions also bound a 56 kDa protein from purified MDBK cell membrane proteins in a virus overlay protein blot assay. RIPA using anti-id as probe detected the 56 kDa protein in permissive MDBK cells but not in non-permissive bat lung cells. The protein nature of the 56 kDa component was confirmed by protease treatment of membranes which resulted in abolition of the 56 kDa signal in RIPA. In addition, purified 56 kDa protein inhibited biotinylated BHV-1 attachment in flow cytometry. These findings indicate that the 56 kDa protein identified by anti-id is a putative receptor for BHV-1.


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