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Virus Res. 1991 Mar;18(2-3):135-50.

Phenotypic and genotypic characterization of locus Syn 5 in herpes simplex virus 1.

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Institute of Biological Sciences, School of Medicine, University of Verona, Italy.


Previous papers have reported that the syncytial mutant HSV-1(13)S11 carries three segregable syn mutations and exhibits its altered phenotype in four different cell lines, i.e. HEp-2, VERO, BHK and HEL both at 34 degrees C and 39 degrees C. Those studies have shown that one of three syncytial loci, designated Syn 5, is located in the Bam HI Q fragment spanning map units 0.296-0.317 of the prototype arrangement. Recombinants obtained from marker transfer experiments with donor BamHI Q fragment, have shown that locus Syn 5 is able to induce cell-to-cell fusion in VERO, BHK and HEL but not in HEp-2 cells. In this paper we have characterized the syn mutant HSV-1(13)S11 with regard to plaque morphology, synthesis of viral polypeptides and glycoproteins, thymidine kinase activity and physical map position of locus Syn 5 on the genome. Pertinent to the syn phenotype, earlier papers claimed that two different polypeptides, thymidine kinase (TK) and glycoprotein H (gH), whose genes map in BamHI Q, may be responsible for the fusion activity. Functional studies on the TK of the syn mutant HSV-1(13)S11 indicate that this polypeptide accumulates normally in infected cells and is a fully active enzyme. The other gene product, gH, has been studied with SDS-PAGE and in radioimmunoprecipitation (RIP) experiments using specific monoclonal antibodies. The results indicate that the amount of gH accumulation in the syn mutant-infected cells is greater than its parental strain. However, new marker transfer experiments described here located locus Syn 5 in 663 base pairs between SstI and EcoRI restriction endonuclease sites at the right end of the BamHI Q fragment, where TK gene overlaps in opposite orientation with UL 24 gene. Altogether these results indicate that the Syn 5 locus segregates from the gene specifying gH, to a region encompassing portions of the TK and UL 24 genes, and that the syn mutation does not affect the expression or activity of TK.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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