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Virology. 2003 Mar 15;307(2):290-300.

Amino acid substitutions in the effector domain of the gamma(1)34.5 protein of herpes simplex virus 1 have differential effects on viral response to interferon-alpha.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, College of Medicine, The University of Illinois at Chicago, 60612, USA.


The gamma(1)34.5 protein of herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) is a virus-encoded protein phosphatase 1 (PP1) regulatory protein that contributes to viral resistance to interferon. It functions to block the shutoff of protein synthesis mediated by the double-stranded RNA-dependent protein kinase. This requires the carboxyl terminus of the gamma(1)34.5 protein to recruit PP1, forming a high-molecular-weight complex that dephosphorylates the alpha subunit of translation initiation factor eIF-2 (eIF-2alpha). In the present study, we introduced a series of point mutations into a region in the effector domain of the gamma(1)34.5 protein, which is adjacent to the PP1-binding domain. Analysis of these mutants in virus-infected cells shows that Ser209Ala, Ser209Asp, Ser218Ala, or Trp219Tyr substitution does not affect viral response to interferon-alpha. In contrast, Arg215Leu or Ser218Asp substitution rendered the virus hypersensitive to interferon-alpha, which correlates with the inability of these gamma(1)34.5 mutants to mediate dephosphorylation of eIF-2alpha. However, Arg215Leu or Ser218Asp substitution does not disrupt the formation of a high-molecular-weight complex required for eIF-2alpha dephosphorylation or binding of the gamma(1)34.5 protein to PP1. These results suggest that concerted action of the PP1-binding domain and the effector domain of the gamma(1)34.5 protein is required to confer HSV-1 interferon resistance.

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