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J Virol. 2011 Jan;85(1):568-81. doi: 10.1128/JVI.01611-10. Epub 2010 Oct 20.

The alphaherpesvirus US3/ORF66 protein kinases direct phosphorylation of the nuclear matrix protein matrin 3.

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Graduate Program in Molecular Virology and Microbiology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA.


The protein kinase found in the short region of alphaherpesviruses, termed US3 in herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) and pseudorabies virus (PRV) and ORF66 in varicella-zoster virus (VZV), affects several viral and host cell processes, and its specific targets remain an area of active investigation. Reports suggesting that HSV-1 US3 substrates overlap with those of cellular protein kinase A (PKA) prompted the use of an antibody specific for phosphorylated PKA substrates to identify US3/ORF66 targets. HSV-1, VZV, and PRV induced very different substrate profiles that were US3/ORF66 kinase dependent. The predominant VZV-phosphorylated 125-kDa species was identified as matrin 3, one of the major nuclear matrix proteins. Matrin 3 was also phosphorylated by HSV-1 and PRV in a US3 kinase-dependent manner and by VZV ORF66 kinase at a novel residue (KRRRT150EE). Since VZV-directed T150 phosphorylation was not blocked by PKA inhibitors and was not induced by PKA activation, and since PKA predominantly targeted matrin 3 S188, it was concluded that phosphorylation by VZV was PKA independent. However, purified VZV ORF66 kinase did not phosphorylate matrin 3 in vitro, suggesting that additional cellular factors were required. In VZV-infected cells in the absence of the ORF66 kinase, matrin 3 displayed intranuclear changes, while matrin 3 showed a pronounced cytoplasmic distribution in late-stage cells infected with US3-negative HSV-1 or PRV. This work identifies phosphorylation of the nuclear matrix protein matrin 3 as a new conserved target of this kinase group.

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