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J Virol. 2012 Feb;86(4):2188-96. doi: 10.1128/JVI.05376-11. Epub 2011 Dec 14.

Inhibition of TANK binding kinase 1 by herpes simplex virus 1 facilitates productive infection.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology and Immunology, College of Medicine, University of Illinois, Chicago, Illinois, USA.


The γ(1)34.5 protein of herpes simplex viruses (HSV) is essential for viral pathogenesis, where it precludes translational arrest mediated by double-stranded-RNA-dependent protein kinase (PKR). Paradoxically, inhibition of PKR alone is not sufficient for HSV to exhibit viral virulence. Here we report that γ(1)34.5 inhibits TANK binding kinase 1 (TBK1) through its amino-terminal sequences, which facilitates viral replication and neuroinvasion. Compared to wild-type virus, the γ(1)34.5 mutant lacking the amino terminus induces stronger antiviral immunity. This parallels a defect of γ(1)34.5 for interacting with TBK1 and reducing phosphorylation of interferon (IFN) regulatory factor 3. This activity is independent of PKR. Although resistant to IFN treatment, the γ(1)34.5 amino-terminal deletion mutant replicates at an intermediate level between replication of wild-type virus and that of the γ(1)34.5 null mutant in TBK1(+/+) cells. However, such impaired viral growth is not observed in TBK1(-/-) cells, indicating that the interaction of γ(1)34.5 with TBK1 dictates HSV infection. Upon corneal infection, this mutant replicates transiently but barely invades the trigeminal ganglia or brain, which is a difference from wild-type virus and the γ(1)34.5 null mutant. Therefore, in addition to PKR, γ(1)34.5 negatively regulates TBK1, which contributes viral replication and spread in vivo.

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