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Protein Cell. 2010 Nov;1(11):987-98. doi: 10.1007/s13238-010-0120-0. Epub 2010 Dec 10.

Role of tegument proteins in herpesvirus assembly and egress.

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CAS Key Laboratory of Infection and Immunity, Institute of Biophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China.


Morphogenesis and maturation of viral particles is an essential step of viral replication. An infectious herpesviral particle has a multilayered architecture, and contains a large DNA genome, a capsid shell, a tegument and an envelope spiked with glycoproteins. Unique to herpesviruses, tegument is a structure that occupies the space between the nucleocapsid and the envelope and contains many virus encoded proteins called tegument proteins. Historically the tegument has been described as an amorphous structure, but increasing evidence supports the notion that there is an ordered addition of tegument during virion assembly, which is consistent with the important roles of tegument proteins in the assembly and egress of herpesviral particles. In this review we first give an overview of the herpesvirus assembly and egress process. We then discuss the roles of selected tegument proteins in each step of the process, i.e., primary envelopment, de-envelopment, secondary envelopment and transport of viral particles. We also suggest key issues that should be addressed in the near future.

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