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Virology. 1994 May 1;200(2):428-35.

Study of the structure of replicative intermediates of HSV-1 DNA by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis.

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Department of Medical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada.


DNA from HSV-1-infected cells was separated by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis into two virus-specific bands: one that migrated as the linear monomer genome (152 kb) and another that remained at the origin of the gel. The latter band contained the replicating HSV-1 DNA, as determined by pulse-labeling with [3H]thymidine. To investigate the structure of this "gel origin" DNA, we constructed a HSV-1 KOS mutant bearing a unique PacI restriction site (HSV-1 PAC1DTK). Partial digestion of gel origin PAC1DTK DNA at late times postinfection (24-48 hr) demonstrated the presence of linear concatemers on pulsed-field gel electrophoresis. Within each concatemer, the long (L) regions of adjacent monomer genomes were found in the two possible orientations. In addition, shorter-than-unit-size fragments that corresponded in size to the left end fragments of the viral genome were detected with the UL region in the two possible orientations. At early times postinfection (8-12 hr), digestion with PacI released only a trace of linear fragments, and most of the gel origin DNA did not migrate on pulsed-field gel electrophoresis. Multiple cuts with EcoRI (a restriction enzyme that cuts the HSV-1 KOS genome 12 times) were necessary to release linear fragments that migrated from the origin of the gel. These results indicate that replicative intermediates of HSV-1 DNA are linked in a large network that needs to be unraveled before packaging takes place. This network may be composed of linear molecules linked together by frequent recombination events or of products of a mode of replication other than simple rolling circle (e.g., theta replication).

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