Send to

Choose Destination
PLoS Pathog. 2010 Sep 9;6(9):e1001092. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1001092.

Cyclin-dependent kinase-like function is shared by the beta- and gamma- subset of the conserved herpesvirus protein kinases.

Author information

Institute for Molecular Virology and McArdle Laboratory for Cancer Research, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin, United States of America.


The UL97 protein of human cytomegalovirus (HCMV, or HHV-5 (human herpesvirus 5)), is a kinase that phosphorylates the cellular retinoblastoma (Rb) tumor suppressor and lamin A/C proteins that are also substrates of cellular cyclin-dependent kinases (Cdks). A functional complementation assay has further shown that UL97 has authentic Cdk-like activity. The other seven human herpesviruses each encode a kinase with sequence and positional homology to UL97. These UL97-homologous proteins have been termed the conserved herpesvirus protein kinases (CHPKs) to distinguish them from other human herpesvirus-encoded kinases. To determine if the Cdk-like activities of UL97 were shared by all of the CHPKs, we individually expressed epitope-tagged alleles of each protein in human Saos-2 cells to test for Rb phosphorylation, human U-2 OS cells to monitor nuclear lamina disruption and lamin A phosphorylation, or S. cerevisiae cdc28-13 mutant cells to directly assay for Cdk function. We found that the ability to phosphorylate Rb and lamin A, and to disrupt the nuclear lamina, was shared by all CHPKs from the beta- and gamma-herpesvirus families, but not by their alpha-herpesvirus homologs. Similarly, all but one of the beta and gamma CHPKs displayed bona fide Cdk activity in S. cerevisiae, while the alpha proteins did not. Thus, we have identified novel virally-encoded Cdk-like kinases, a nomenclature we abbreviate as v-Cdks. Interestingly, we found that other, non-Cdk-related activities reported for UL97 (dispersion of promyelocytic leukemia protein nuclear bodies (PML-NBs) and disruption of cytoplasmic or nuclear aggresomes) showed weak conservation among the CHPKs that, in general, did not segregate to specific viral families. Therefore, the genomic and evolutionary conservation of these kinases has not been fully maintained at the functional level. Our data indicate that these related kinases, some of which are targets of approved or developmental antiviral drugs, are likely to serve both overlapping and non-overlapping functions during viral infections.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Public Library of Science Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center