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J Virol. 2009 Dec;83(24):12725-37. doi: 10.1128/JVI.01658-09. Epub 2009 Oct 7.

Effects of major capsid proteins, capsid assembly, and DNA cleavage/packaging on the pUL17/pUL25 complex of herpes simplex virus 1.

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  • 1Department Microbiology and Immunology, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853, USA.


The U(L)17 and U(L)25 proteins (pU(L)17 and pU(L)25, respectively) of herpes simplex virus 1 are located at the external surface of capsids and are essential for DNA packaging and DNA retention in the capsid, respectively. The current studies were undertaken to determine whether DNA packaging or capsid assembly affected the pU(L)17/pU(L)25 interaction. We found that pU(L)17 and pU(L)25 coimmunoprecipitated from cells infected with wild-type virus, whereas the major capsid protein VP5 (encoded by the U(L)19 gene) did not coimmunoprecipitate with these proteins under stringent conditions. In addition, pU(L)17 (i) coimmunoprecipitated with pU(L)25 in the absence of other viral proteins, (ii) coimmunoprecipitated with pU(L)25 from lysates of infected cells in the presence or absence of VP5, (iii) did not coimmunoprecipitate efficiently with pU(L)25 in the absence of the triplex protein VP23 (encoded by the U(L)18 gene), (iv) required pU(L)25 for proper solubilization and localization within the viral replication compartment, (v) was essential for the sole nuclear localization of pU(L)25, and (vi) required capsid proteins VP5 and VP23 for nuclear localization and normal levels of immunoreactivity in an indirect immunofluorescence assay. Proper localization of pU(L)25 in infected cell nuclei required pU(L)17, pU(L)32, and the major capsid proteins VP5 and VP23, but not the DNA packaging protein pU(L)15. The data suggest that VP23 or triplexes augment the pU(L)17/pU(L)25 interaction and that VP23 and VP5 induce conformational changes in pU(L)17 and pU(L)25, exposing epitopes that are otherwise partially masked in infected cells. These conformational changes can occur in the absence of DNA packaging. The data indicate that the pU(L)17/pU(L)25 complex requires multiple viral proteins and functions for proper localization and biochemical behavior in the infected cell.

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