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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1986 Dec;83(23):9094-8.

A method for identifying the viral genes required for herpesvirus DNA replication.


Several laboratories have shown that transfected plasmid DNAs containing either of the two known origins of herpes simplex virus (HSV) DNA replication, oriS or oriL, are replicated in HSV-1-infected cells or in cells cotransfected with virion DNA. I have found that HSV-1 (KOS) DNA digested to completion with the restriction enzyme Xba I is as efficient as intact viral DNA in supporting the in vivo replication of cotransfected plasmids containing oriS. On the basis of this result, several of the Xba I restriction fragments of HSV-1 DNA were cloned into the plasmid vector pUC19, and combinations of cloned DNAs were tested for their ability to supply the trans-acting functions required for HSV origin-dependent replication. A combination of five cloned fragments of HSV-1 can supply all of the necessary functions: Xba I C (coordinates 0.074-0.294), Xba I F (coordinates 0.294-0.453), Xba I E (coordinates 0.453-0.641), Xba I D (coordinates 0.641-0.830), and EcoRI JK (coordinates 0.0-0.086; 0.830-0.865). Transient plasmid replication in this system is dependent on the presence of either oriS or oriL in cis. The plasmid containing Xba I F can be replaced by two smaller plasmids, one of which contains only the gene for the HSV-encoded DNA polymerase, and the other of which contains only the gene for the major DNA binding protein (ICP8). Thus, plasmid DNA replication in this system depends on two of the genes known from genetic studies to be essential for viral DNA replication in infected cells. This system defines a simple complementation assay for cloned fragments of HSV DNA that contain other genes involved in viral DNA replication and should lead to the rapid identification of all such genes.

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