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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2004 Feb 10;101(6):1473-8. Epub 2004 Jan 26.

Herpes simplex virus infections are arrested in Oct-1-deficient cells.

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Laboratory of Viral Diseases, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Building 4-131, 4 Center Drive, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


Expression of the herpes simplex virus (HSV) immediate early (IE) genes is regulated by a multiprotein complex that is assembled on the TAATGARAT enhancer core element. The complex contains the cellular POU domain protein Oct-1, the viral transactivator VP16, and the cellular cofactor host cell factor 1. The current model suggests that the assembly depends on recognition of the core element by Oct-1. Here, HSV infection of Oct-1-deficient mouse embryonic fibroblast cells demonstrates that Oct-1 is critical for IE gene expression at low multiplicities of infection (moi). However, the protein is not essential for IE gene expression at high moi, indicating that VP16-mediated transcriptional induction through other IE regulatory elements is also important. This induction depends, at least in part, on the GA-binding protein binding elements that are present in each IE enhancer domain. Surprisingly, whereas the viral IE genes are expressed after high moi infection of Oct-1-deficient cells, the assembly of viral replication factories is severely impaired, revealing a second critical role for Oct-1 in HSV replication. The results have implications for both the HSV lytic and latency-reactivation cycles.

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