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J Virol. 2000 Feb;74(3):1355-63.

The herpes simplex virus 1 U(L)34 protein interacts with a cytoplasmic dynein intermediate chain and targets nuclear membrane.

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The Marjorie B. Kovler Viral Oncology Laboratories, The University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois 60637, USA.


To express the function encoded in its genome, the herpes simplex virus 1 capsid-tegument structure released by deenvelopment during entry into cells must be transported retrograde to the nuclear pore where viral DNA is released into the nucleus. This path is essential in the case of virus entering axons of dorsal root ganglia. The objective of the study was to identify the viral proteins that may be involved in the transport. We report the following findings. (i) The neuronal isoform of the intermediate chain (IC-1a) of the dynein complex pulled down, from lysates of [(35)S]methionine-labeled infected cells, two viral proteins identified as the products of U(L)34 and U(L)31 open reading frames, respectively. U(L)34 protein is a virion protein associated with cellular membranes and phosphorylated by the viral kinase U(S)3. U(L)31 protein is a largely insoluble, evenly dispersed nuclear phosphoprotein required for optimal processing and packaging of viral DNA into preformed capsids. Reciprocal pulldown experiments verified the interaction of IC-1a and U(L)34 protein. In similar experiments, U(L)34 protein was found to interact with U(L)31 protein and the major capsid protein ICP5. (ii) To determine whether U(L)34 protein is transported to the nuclear membrane, a requirement if it is involved in transport, the U(L)34 protein was inserted into a baculovirus vector under the cytomegalovirus major early promoter. Cells infected with the recombinant baculovirus expressed U(L)34 protein in a dose-dependent manner, and the U(L)34 protein localized primarily in the nuclear membrane. An unexpected finding was that U(L)34-expressing cells showed a dissociation of the inner and outer nuclear membranes reminiscent of the morphologic changes seen in cells productively infected with herpes simplex virus 1. U(L)34, like many other viral proteins, may have multiple functions expressed both early and late in infection.

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