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Rev Med Virol. 1999 Jul;9(3):171-82.

Mechanism and application of genetic recombination in herpesviruses.

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Department of Virology, Faculty of Medicine, Kyushu University 60, Fukuoka 812-8582, Japan.


Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) is a ubiquitous human pathogen that latently infects sensory ganglia and encodes over 80 genes in a 152 kbp DNA genome. This well characterised virus provides a model for analysing genetic recombination in herpesviruses, a fundamental biological process by which new combinations of genetic materials are generated. The frequency of homologous recombination was estimated to be 0.0048-0.007 (0.48%-0.7%)/kb of the HSV-1 genome, determined using physical markers. The double-strand break repair model, the current model of homologous recombination, adequately explains L-S inversion of herpesvirus genomes and the recombinogenicity of the a sequence. Several herpesvirus genomes, including HSV-1 consist of a unique sequence bracketed by a pair of inverted repeat sequences. This arrangement is attributed to illegitimate recombination between molecules arranged in an inverse orientation. Junctions of unique and repeated sequences that correspond to the crossover site of illegitimate recombination are recombinogenic. Recombination is important for virus evolution, construction of mutated virus, gene therapy and vaccination in which the potential for recombination between engineered input virus and wild type virus has to be considered.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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