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J Virol. 1993 Mar;67(3):1482-92.

Herpes simplex virus type 1 UL46 and UL47 deletion mutants lack VP11 and VP12 or VP13 and VP14, respectively, and exhibit altered viral thymidine kinase expression.

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  • 1Department of Infectious Diseases and Microbiology, University of Pittsburgh, Graduate School of Public Health, Pennsylvania 15261.


The gene products of herpes simplex virus type 1 UL46 and UL47 enhance the efficiency of alpha TIF (VP16)-mediated alpha gene expression through an unknown mechanism of action. To further characterize the function of the UL46- and UL47-encoded proteins during virus infection, a series of isogenic herpes simplex virus type 1 strain F-derived UL46 and UL47 single-deletion mutants and a UL46/47 double-deletion mutant were constructed and compared with the wild type. Analysis of purified virions obtained from the UL46 deletion mutant showed for the first time that UL46 encoded the viron tegument phosphoproteins VP11 and VP12 (VP11/12). Similar analyses of the UL47 deletion mutants confirmed an earlier report by McLean et al. that UL47 also encoded two virion tegument phosphoproteins, VP13 and VP14 (VP13/14) (G. McLean, F. Rixon, N. Langeland, L. Haarr, and H. Marsden, J. Gen. Virol. 71:2953-2960, 1990). Kinetic analysis demonstrated a delay of approximately 2 h in the appearance of thymidine kinase (TK) activity in all of the UL46 and UL47 single-deletion mutants. In the UL46/47 double-deletion mutant, the delay in TK activity increased twofold, suggesting that the proteins encoded by UL46 and UL47 may act at the same level. Since the delay in TK expression occurred within the first 4 h of infection, the actions of VP11/12 and VP13/14 resulted from their virion association and not from their de novo synthesis as late (beta gamma and gamma) genes. Densitometric analysis of purified virions showed that the levels of VP11/12 and VP13/14 in the virion tegument were near the molar ratios of alpha TIF. On the basis of these observations, we predict that the abilities of UL46 and UL47 to enhance alpha TIF-mediated transcription could result from a stoichiometric association of VP11/12 and VP13/14 with alpha TIF within the infecting virion.

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