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J Virol. Nov 1984; 52(2): 566–574.
PMCID: PMC254559

Herpes simplex virus type 1 glycoprotein C-negative mutants exhibit multiple phenotypes, including secretion of truncated glycoproteins.


A virus-neutralizing monoclonal antibody specific for glycoprotein C (gC) of herpes simplex virus type 1 strain KOS was used to select a number of neutralization-resistant mutants. A total of 103 of these mutants also were resistant to neutralization by a pool of gC-specific antibodies and thus were operationally defined as gC-. Analysis of mutant-infected cell mRNA showed that a 2.7-kilobase mRNA, comparable in size to the wild-type gC mRNA, was produced by nearly all mutants. However, six mutants, gC-5, gC-13, gC-21, gC-39, gC-46, and gC-98, did not produce the normal-size gC mRNA but rather synthesized a novel 1.1-kilobase RNA species. These mutants had deletions of 1.6 kilobases in the coding sequence of the gC structural gene, which explains their gC- phenotype. Despite the production of an apparently normal mRNA by the remaining 97 mutants, only 7 mutants produced a detectable gC polypeptide. In contrast to wild-type gC, which is a membrane-bound glycoprotein with an apparent molecular weight of 130,000 (130K), five of these mutants quantitatively secreted proteins of lower molecular weight into the culture medium. These were synLD70 (101K), gC-8 (109K), gC-49 (112K), gC-53 (108K), and gC-85 (106K). The mutant gC-3 secreted a protein that was indistinguishable in molecular weight from wild-type KOS gC. Another mutant, gC-44, produced a gC protein which also was indistinguishable from wild-type gC by molecular weight and which remained cell associated. Pulse-labeling of infected cells in the presence and absence of the glycosylation inhibitor tunicamycin demonstrated that these proteins were glycosylated and provided estimates of the molecular weights of the nonglycosylated primary translation products. The smallest of these proteins was produced by synLD70 and was 48K, about two-thirds the size of the wild-type polypeptide precursor (73K). Physical mapping of the mutations in synLD70 and gC-8 by marker rescue placed these mutations in the middle third of the gC coding sequence. Mapping of the mutations in other gC- mutants, including two in which no protein product was detected, also placed these mutations within or very close to the gC gene. The biochemical and genetic data available on mutants secreting gC gene products suggest that secretion is due to the lack of a functional transmembrane anchor sequence on these mutant glycoproteins.

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Selected References

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