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J Virol. 1988 Mar;62(3):912-21.

Herpes simplex virus virion host shutoff function.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology, University of Chicago, Illinois 60637.


Herpes simplex virus (HSV) virions contain one or more functions which mediate the shutoff of host protein synthesis and the degradation of host mRNA. HSV type 1 (HSV-1) mutants deficient in the virion shutoff of host protein synthesis (vhs mutants) were isolated and were found to be defective in their ability to degrade host mRNA. Furthermore, it was found that viral mRNAs in cells infected with the vhs 1 mutant have a significantly longer functional half-life than viral mRNAs in wild-type virus-infected cells. In the present study we have mapped the vhs1 mutation affecting the virion shutoff of host protein synthesis to a 265-base-pair NruI-XmaIII fragment spanning map coordinates 0.604 to 0.606 of the HSV-1 genome. The mutation(s) affecting the functional half-lives of host mRNA as well as the alpha (immediate-early), beta (early), and gamma (late) viral mRNAs were also mapped within this 265-base-pair fragment. Thus, the shutoff of host protein synthesis is most likely mediated by the same function which decreases the half-life of viral mRNA. The shorter half-life of infected-cell mRNAs may allow a more rapid modulation of viral gene expression in response to changes in the transcription of viral genes. Interestingly, the vhs1 mutation of HSV-1 maps within a region which overlaps the Bg/II-N sequences of HSV-2 DNA shown previously to transform cells in culture. The possible relationship between the transformation and host shutoff functions are discussed.

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