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Virol J. 2011 May 25;8:257. doi: 10.1186/1743-422X-8-257.

Herpes simplex virus induces the marked up-regulation of the zinc finger transcriptional factor INSM1, which modulates the expression and localization of the immediate early protein ICP0.

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Department of Virology, Nagoya Graduate School of Medicine, 65 Tsurumai-cho, Showa-ku, Nagoya 466-8550, Japan.



Herpes simplex viruses (HSVs) rapidly shut off macromolecular synthesis in host cells. In contrast, global microarray analyses have shown that HSV infection markedly up-regulates a number of host cell genes that may play important roles in HSV-host cell interactions. To understand the regulatory mechanisms involved, we initiated studies focusing on the zinc finger transcription factor insulinoma-associated 1 (INSM1), a host cell protein markedly up-regulated by HSV infection.


INSM1 gene expression in HSV-1-infected normal human epidermal keratinocytes increased at least 400-fold 9 h after infection; INSM1 promoter activity was also markedly stimulated. Expression and subcellular localization of the immediate early HSV protein ICP0 was affected by INSM1 expression, and chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) assays revealed binding of INSM1 to the ICP0 promoter. Moreover, the role of INSM1 in HSV-1 infection was further clarified by inhibition of HSV-1 replication by INSM1-specific siRNA.


The results suggest that INSM1 up-regulation plays a positive role in HSV-1 replication, probably by binding to the ICP0 promoter.

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