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J Virol. 1999 Nov;73(11):9456-67.

Herpes simplex virus type 1 immediate-early protein Vmw110 inhibits progression of cells through mitosis and from G(1) into S phase of the cell cycle.

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MRC Virology Unit, Glasgow G11 5JR, Scotland, United Kingdom.


Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) immediate-early protein Vmw110 stimulates the onset of virus infection in a multiplicity-dependent manner and is required for efficient reactivation from latency. Recent work has shown that Vmw110 is able to interact with or modify the stability of several cellular proteins. In this report we analyze the ability of Vmw110 to inhibit the progression of cells through the cell cycle. We show by fluorescence-activated cell sorter and/or confocal microscopy analysis that an enhanced green fluorescent protein-tagged Vmw110 possesses the abilities both to prevent transfected cells moving from G(1) into S phase and to block infected cells at an unusual stage of mitosis defined as pseudo-prometaphase. The latter property correlates with the Vmw110-induced proteasome-dependent degradation of CENP-C, a centromeric protein component of the inner plate of human kinetochores. We also show that whereas Vmw110 is not the only viral product implicated in the block of infected cells at the G(1)/S border, the mitotic block is a specific property of Vmw110 and more particularly of its RING finger domain. These data explain the toxicity of Vmw110 when expressed alone in transfected cells and provide an explanation for the remaining toxicity of replication-defective mutants of HSV-1 expressing Vmw110. In addition to contributing to our understanding of the effects of Vmw110 on the cell, our results demonstrate that Vmw110 expression is incompatible with the proliferation of a dividing cell population. This factor is of obvious importance to the design of gene therapy vectors based on HSV-1.

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