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J Virol. 2000 Nov;74(22):10417-29.

Ras-GAP binding and phosphorylation by herpes simplex virus type 2 RR1 PK (ICP10) and activation of the Ras/MEK/MAPK mitogenic pathway are required for timely onset of virus growth.

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  • 1Departments of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland 21201, USA.


We used a herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) mutant with a deletion in the RR1 (ICP10) PK domain (ICP10DeltaPK) and an MEK inhibitor (PD98059) to examine the role of ICP10 PK in virus growth. In HSV-2-infected cells, ICP10 PK binds and phosphorylates the GTPase activating protein Ras-GAP. In vitro binding and peptide competition assays indicated that Ras-GAP N-SH2 and PH domains, respectively, bind ICP10 at phosphothreonines 117 and 141 and a WD40-like motif at positions 160 to 173. Binding and phosphorylation did not occur in cells infected with ICP10DeltaPK. GTPase activity was significantly lower in HSV-2- than in ICP10DeltaPK-infected cells. Conversely, the levels of activated Ras and mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK), and the expression and stabilization of the transcription factor c-Fos were significantly increased in cells infected with HSV-2 or a revertant virus [HSV-2(R)] but not with ICP10DeltaPK. PD98059 inhibited MAPK activation and induction-stabilization of c-Fos. Expression from the ICP10 promoter was increased in cells infected with HSV-2 but not with ICP10DeltaPK, and increased expression was ablated by PD98059. ICP10 DNA formed a complex with nuclear extracts from HSV-2-infected cells which was supershifted by c-Fos antibody and was not seen with extracts from ICP10DeltaPK-infected cells. Complex formation was abrogated by PD98059. Onset of HSV-2 replication was significantly delayed by PD98059 (14 h versus 2 h in untreated cells), a delay similar to that seen for ICP10DeltaPK. The data indicate that Ras-GAP phosphorylation by ICP10 PK is involved in the activation of the Ras/MEK/MAPK mitogenic pathway and c-Fos induction and stabilization. This results in increased ICP10 expression and the timely onset of HSV-2 growth.

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