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J Virol. 2002 Jul;76(13):6473-9.

Phosphorylation of transcription factor Sp1 during herpes simplex virus type 1 infection.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Genetics and Biochemistry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA 15261, USA.


The expression of most herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) immediate-early (IE) and early (E) genes decreases late in productive infection. IE and E promoters contain various binding sites for cellular activators, including sites for Sp1, upstream of the TATA box, while late gene promoters generally lack such sites. To address the possibility that Sp1 function may be altered during the course of infection, the modification state and activity of Sp1 were investigated as a function of infection. Sp1 was quantitatively phosphorylated in HSV-1-infected cells without a significant change in abundance. The kinetics of accumulation of phosphorylated Sp1 immediately preceded the decline in E gene (thymidine kinase gene [tk]) mRNA abundance. Phosphorylation of Sp1 required ICP4; however, the proportion of phosphorylated Sp1 was reduced during infection in the presence of phosphonoacetic acid or in the absence of ICP27. While the DNA binding activity of Sp1 was not greatly affected by phosphorylation, the ability of phosphorylated Sp1 isolated from HSV-infected cells to activate transcription in vitro was decreased. These studies suggest that modification of Sp1 may contribute to the decrease of IE and E gene expression late in infection.

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