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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2001 Aug 28;98(18):10410-5. Epub 2001 Aug 21.

The US3 protein kinase of herpes simplex virus 1 mediates the posttranslational modification of BAD and prevents BAD-induced programmed cell death in the absence of other viral proteins.

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  • 1Marjorie B. Kovler Viral Oncology Laboratories, University of Chicago, 910 East 58th Street, Chicago, IL 60637, USA.


Earlier studies have shown that the d120 mutant of herpes simplex virus 1, which lacks both copies of the alpha4 gene, induces apoptosis in all cell lines tested. In some cell lines d120-induced apoptosis, manifested by the release of cytochrome c, activation of caspase 3, and fragmentation of cellular DNA, is blocked by the overexpression of Bcl-2. In these cells viral protein kinase U(S)3 delivered in trans blocks apoptosis induced by the mutant virus at a premitochondrial stage. We report that the U(S)3 protein kinase targets the pro-apoptotic BAD member of the Bcl-2 family. Specifically, the U(S)3 protein kinase mediates a posttranslational modification of BAD and blocks its cleavage, which is reported to activate apoptosis. Thus, U(S)3 protein kinase is the sole viral protein required to block activation of caspase 3, prevent cleavage of poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase, and block fragmentation of cellular DNA induced by BAD.

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