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J Virol. 1999 May;73(5):4305-15.

Functional anatomy of herpes simplex virus 1 overlapping genes encoding infected-cell protein 22 and US1.5 protein.

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  • 1The Marjorie B. Kovler Viral Oncology Laboratories, The University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois 60637, USA.


Earlier studies have shown that (i) the coding domain of the alpha22 gene encodes two proteins, the 420-amino-acid infected-cell protein 22 (ICP22) and a protein, US1.5, which is initiated from methionine 147 of ICP22 and which is colinear with the remaining portion of that protein; (ii) posttranslational processing of ICP22 mediated largely by the viral protein kinase UL13 yields several isoforms differing in electrophoretic mobility; and (iii) mutants lacking the carboxyl-terminal half of the ICP22 and therefore DeltaUS1.5 are avirulent and fail to express normal levels of subsets of both alpha (e.g., ICP0) or gamma2 (e.g., US11 and UL38) proteins. We have generated and analyzed two sets of recombinant viruses. The first lacked portions of or all of the sequences expressed solely by ICP22. The second set lacked 10 to 40 3'-terminal codons of ICP22 and US1. 5. The results were as follows. (i) In cells infected with mutants lacking amino-terminal sequences, translation initiation begins at methionine 147. The resulting protein cannot be differentiated in mobility from authentic US1.5, and its posttranslational processing is mediated by the UL13 protein kinase. (ii) Expression of US11 and UL38 genes by mutants carrying only the US1.5 gene is similar to that of wild-type parent virus. (iii) Mutants which express only US1. 5 protein are avirulent in mice. (iv) The coding sequences Met147 to Met171 are essential for posttranslational processing of the US1.5 protein. (v) ICP22 made by mutants lacking 15 or fewer of the 3'-terminal codons are posttranslationally processed whereas those lacking 18 or more codons are not processed. (vi) Wild-type and mutant ICP22 proteins localized in both nucleus and cytoplasm irrespective of posttranslational processing. We conclude that ICP22 encodes two sets of functions, one in the amino terminus unique to ICP22 and one shared by ICP22 and US1.5. These functions are required for viral replication in experimental animals. US1.5 protein must be posttranslationally modified by the UL13 protein kinase to enable expression of a subset of late genes exemplified by UL38 and US11. Posttranslational processing is determined by two sets of sequences, at the amino terminus and at the carboxyl terminus of US1.5, respectively, a finding consistent with the hypothesis that both domains interact with protein partners for specific functions.

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