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J Virol. 2011 Sep;85(17):8616-24. doi: 10.1128/JVI.00123-11. Epub 2011 May 18.

Disulfide bond formation in the herpes simplex virus 1 UL6 protein is required for portal ring formation and genome encapsidation.

Author information

1
Department of Molecular, Microbial and Structural Biology, University of Connecticut Health Center, 263 Farmington Ave., Farmington, CT 06030, USA.

Abstract

The herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) UL6 portal protein forms a 12-subunit ring structure at a unique capsid vertex which functions as a conduit for the encapsidation of the viral genome. We have demonstrated previously that the leucine zipper region of UL6 is important for intersubunit interactions and stable ring formation (J. K. Nellissery, R. Szczepaniak, C. Lamberti, and S. K. Weller, J. Virol. 81:8868-8877, 2007). We now demonstrate that intersubunit disulfide bonds exist between monomeric subunits and contribute to portal ring formation and/or stability. Intersubunit disulfide bonds were detected in purified portal rings by SDS-PAGE under nonreducing conditions. Furthermore, the treatment of purified portal rings with dithiothreitol (DTT) resulted in the disruption of the rings, suggesting that disulfide bonds confer stability to this complex structure. The UL6 protein contains nine cysteines that were individually mutated to alanine. Two of these mutants, C166A and C254A, failed to complement a UL6 null mutant in a transient complementation assay. Furthermore, viral mutants bearing the C166A and C254A mutations failed to produce infectious progeny and were unable to cleave or package viral DNA. In cells infected with C166A or C254A, B capsids were produced which contained UL6 at reduced levels compared to those seen in wild-type capsids. In addition, C166A and C254A mutant proteins expressed in insect cells infected with recombinant baculovirus failed to form ring structures. Cysteines at positions 166 and 254 thus appear to be required for intersubunit disulfide bond formation. Taken together, these results indicate that disulfide bond formation is required for portal ring formation and/or stability and for the production of procapsids that are capable of encapsidation.

PMID:
21593161
PMCID:
PMC3165836
DOI:
10.1128/JVI.00123-11
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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