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J Biol Chem. 2001 Feb 23;276(8):5829-35. Epub 2000 Oct 26.

Degradation of nucleosome-associated centromeric histone H3-like protein CENP-A induced by herpes simplex virus type 1 protein ICP0.

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Medical Research Council Virology Unit, Glasgow G11 5JR, Scotland, United Kingdom.


Cells infected by herpes simplex virus type 1 in the G2 phase of the cell cycle become stalled at an unusual stage of mitosis defined as pseudoprometaphase. This block correlates with the viral immediate-early protein ICP0-induced degradation of the centromere protein CENP-C. However, the observed pseudoprometaphase phenotype of infected mitotic cells suggests that the stability of other centromere proteins may also be affected. Here, we demonstrate that ICP0 also induces the proteasome-dependent degradation of the centromere protein CENP-A. By a series of Western blot and immunofluorescence experiments we show that the endogenous 17-kDa CENP-A and an exogenous tagged version of CENP-A are lost from centromeres and degraded in infected and transfected cells as a result of ICP0 expression. CENP-A is a histone H3-like protein associated with nucleosome structures in the inner plate of the kinetochore. Unlike fully transcribed lytic viral DNA, the transcriptionally repressed latent herpes simplex virus type 1 genome has been reported to have a nucleosomal structure similar to that of cellular chromatin. Because ICP0 plays an essential part in controlling the balance between the lytic and latent outcomes of infection, the ICP0-induced degradation of CENP-A is an intriguing feature connecting different aspects of viral and/or cellular genome regulation.

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