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Virology. 1998 Sep 30;249(2):460-70.

Functional conservations of the alkaline nuclease of herpes simplex type 1 and human cytomegalovirus.

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  • 1Department of Virology, Bristol-Myers Squibb Pharmaceutical Research Institute, Wallingford, Connecticut, 06492-7660, USA.


The herpes simplex virus type 1 UL12 gene product, alkaline nuclease (AN), appears to be involved in viral DNA processing and capsid egress from the nucleus (Shao, L., Rapp, L. M., and Weller, S. K., Virology 196, 146-162, 1993). Although the HSV-1 AN is not absolutely essential for viral replication in tissue culture, conservation of the AN gene in all herpesviruses suggests an important role in the life cycle of herpesviruses. The counterpart of HSV-1 AN for human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is the UL98 gene product. To examine whether the HCMV AN could substitute for HSV-1 AN, we performed trans-complementation experiments using a HSV-1 amplicon plasmid carrying the HCMV UL98 gene. Our results indicate (i) HCMV AN can complement the growth of the HSV-1 AN deletion mutant UL12lacZ virus in trans; (ii) a new recombinant virus, UL12laZcUL98/99, appears to be generated by the integration of the HCMV UL98 gene into the HSV-1 UL12lacZ viral genome; (iii) in contrast to its parental HSV-1 UL12lacZ virus, capsids formed in UL12lacZUL98/99-infected Vero cells were able to transport from the nucleus to the cytoplasm and mature into infectious viruses. Our results demonstrate a functional conservation of AN between HSV-1 and HCMV.

Copyright 1998 Academic Press.

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