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Br Microbiol Res J. 2013 Oct 1;3(4):706-723.

Induction of Transcription Factor Early Growth Response Protein 1 during HSV-1 Infection Promotes Viral Replication in Corneal Cells.

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Pharmaceutical Sciences, School of Pharmacy, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, 1 College Backbone Road, Princess Anne, MD 21853, USA.



To understand the mechanisms of Early Growth Response Protein 1 (Egr-1) induction upon HSV-1 lytic infection and its roles in regulating viral gene expression and replication.


Rabbit corneal cell line SIRC and other cell lines were infected by HSV-1 to investigate the Egr-1 induction and its occupancy on the viral genome in different conditions. UV-inactivated HSV-1 and a recombinant virus over-expressing Egr-1 were generated to evaluate the regulatory effects on viral gene expression and replication during the infection.


Egr-1 induction triggered by viral infection was determined by Western Blot analyses and immune-fluorescent microscopy. Real-time RT-PCR and a novel Cignal Reporter Assay were used for quantitative measurement of Egr-1 expression. Chromatin Immuno-precipitation (ChIP) was performed to address the Egr-1 occupancy to the viral regulatory sequences and the influence on viral replication was assessed by plaque assays.


Our results indicated that Egr-1 expression requires viral gene expression since the UV-inactivated HSV-1 failed to produce Egr-1 protein. Blockade of viral replication did not block the Egr-1 protein synthesis, supporting the hypothesis that HSV-1 replication was not essential for Egr-1 production. Chromatin immune-precipitation (ChIP) and RT-PCR assays demonstrated that induced Egr-1 was able to interact with key regulatory elements near HSV-1 immediate-early (IE) genes and promote viral gene expression. Recombinant virus overexpressing Egr-1 revealed that Egr-1 enhanced the viral replication and the release of infectious virus.


Together these results concluded that HSV-1 triggers the expression of an important host transcription factor Egr-1 via a unique mechanism and benefit the viral gene expression and replication.


Egr-1; HSV-1; corneal cells; lytic infection; viral replication

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