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Nucleic Acids Res. 1995 Apr 25;23(8):1341-9.

Mutational analysis of varicella-zoster virus major immediate-early protein IE62.

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Department of Microbiology, University of Li├Ęge, Belgium.


The varicella-zoster virus (VZV) open reading frame 62 encodes an immediate-early protein (IE62) that transactivates expression of various VZV promoters and autoregulates its own expression in transient expression assays. In Vero cells, IE62 was shown to transactivate the expression of all putative immediate-early (IE) and early (E) genes of VZV with an up-regulating effect at low intracellular concentrations. To define the functional domains involved in the regulatory properties of IE62, a large number of in-frame insertions and deletions were introduced into a plasmid-borne copy of the gene encoding IE62. Studies of the regulatory activities of the resultant mutant polypeptides in transient expression assays allowed to delineate protein regions important for repression of its own promoter and for transactivation of a VZV putative immediate-early gene (ORF61) promoter and an early gene (ORF29) promoter. This mutational analysis resulted in the identification of a new functional domain situated at the border between regions 4 and 5 which plays a crucial role in the IE62 regulatory functions. This domain turned out to be very well conserved amongst homologous alphaherpesvirus regulatory proteins and appeared to be rich in bulky hydrophobic and proline residues, similar to the proline-rich region of the CAAT box binding protein CTF-1. By immunofluorescence, a nuclear localization signal has been mapped in region 3.

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