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J Biol Chem. 2000 Jan 7;275(1):77-81.

Olf-1, a neuron-specific transcription factor, can activate the herpes simplex virus type 1-infected cell protein 0 promoter.

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Center for Biotechnology, Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Nebraska 68583-0905, USA.


Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) establishes a life-long latent infection in sensory neurons of infected individuals. Infected cell protein 0 (ICP0) is important for productive infection and reactivation from latency. Thus, activation of ICP0 expression in neurons is likely to be important for reactivation from latency. In a mouse neuroblastoma cell line, ICP0 promoter activity is high compared with other strong viral promoters. In contrast, promoter activity is low in non-neuronal cells. DNase I footprinting assays indicated that three distinct motifs in the ICP0 promoter are bound by nuclear factors. One of these motifs contains a binding site for a novel helix-loop-helix olfactory neuron-specific transcription factor (Olf-1). Gel shift assays and supershift assays using an Olf-1-specific antibody demonstrated that mouse neuroblastoma cells express Olf-1, which is bound to the Olf-1-like site in the ICP0 promoter. Deletion of the putative Olf-1 motif reduced ICP0 promoter activity more than 5-fold in mouse neuroblastoma cells and prevented trans-activation by an Olf-1 expression vector. We hypothesize that the Olf-1-binding site activates ICP0 promoter activity in neurons during reactivation from latency.

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