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Virology. 1996 Dec 1;226(1):140-5.

Phosphorylation of the herpes simplex virus type 1 tegument protein VP22.

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Marie Curie Research Institute, The Chart, Oxteo, Surrey, United Kingdom.


The herpes simplex virus type 1 tegument protein VP22 is known to be highly phosphorylated during infection. Here we show that two electrophoretic forms of VP22 can be identified in infected cell extracts and that this heterogeneity is accounted for by phosphorylation. Furthermore, the nonphosphorylated form of VP22 appears to be specifically incorporated into virions. We also show that the phosphorylated form of VP22 is the only form detected during transient transfection and as such that VP22 can act as a substrate for a cellular kinase. Phospho-amino acid and phospho-peptide analyses of in vivo labeled VP22 were utilized to demonstrate that the phosphorylation profiles of VP22 synthesized during transfection and infection are the same. In both cases VP22 was modified solely on serine residues located in the N-terminal 120 residues of the protein. Moreover, in vitro phosphorylation was utilized to show that the constitutive cellular kinase, casein kinase II, which has four serine consensus recognition sites at the N-terminus of VP22, phosphorylates VP22 in the same manner as observed in vivo. This kinase also phosphorylates VP22 at the N-terminus in intact capsid-tegument structures. Casein kinase II is therefore likely to be the major kinase of VP22 during infection.

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