Publications by authors named "Marvin Sommer"

58 Publications

The N-terminus of varicella-zoster virus glycoprotein B has a functional role in fusion.

PLoS Pathog 2021 Jan 7;17(1):e1008961. Epub 2021 Jan 7.

Department of Pediatrics, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California, United States of America.

Varicella-zoster virus (VZV) is a medically important alphaherpesvirus that induces fusion of the virion envelope and the cell membrane during entry, and between cells to form polykaryocytes within infected tissues during pathogenesis. All members of the Herpesviridae, including VZV, have a conserved core fusion complex composed of glycoproteins, gB, gH and gL. The ectodomain of the primary fusogen, gB, has five domains, DI-V, of which DI contains the fusion loops needed for fusion function. We recently demonstrated that DIV is critical for fusion initiation, which was revealed by a 2.8Å structure of a VZV neutralizing mAb, 93k, bound to gB and mutagenesis of the gB-93k interface. To further assess the mechanism of mAb 93k neutralization, the binding site of a non-neutralizing mAb to gB, SG2, was compared to mAb 93k using single particle cryogenic electron microscopy (cryo-EM). The gB-SG2 interface partially overlapped with that of gB-93k but, unlike mAb 93k, mAb SG2 did not interact with the gB N-terminus, suggesting a potential role for the gB N-terminus in membrane fusion. The gB ectodomain structure in the absence of antibody was defined at near atomic resolution by single particle cryo-EM (3.9Å) of native, full-length gB purified from infected cells and by X-ray crystallography (2.4Å) of the transiently expressed ectodomain. Both structures revealed that the VZV gB N-terminus (aa72-114) was flexible based on the absence of visible structures in the cryo-EM or X-ray crystallography data but the presence of gB N-terminal peptides were confirmed by mass spectrometry. Notably, N-terminal residues 109KSQD112 were predicted to form a small α-helix and alanine substitution of these residues abolished cell-cell fusion in a virus-free assay. Importantly, transferring the 109AAAA112 mutation into the VZV genome significantly impaired viral propagation. These data establish a functional role for the gB N-terminus in membrane fusion broadly relevant to the Herpesviridae.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1008961DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7817050PMC
January 2021

The latency-associated transcript locus of herpes simplex virus 1 is a virulence determinant in human skin.

PLoS Pathog 2020 12 28;16(12):e1009166. Epub 2020 Dec 28.

Departments of Pediatrics and Microbiology and Immunology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California, United States of America.

Herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) infects skin and mucosal epithelial cells and then travels along axons to establish latency in the neurones of sensory ganglia. Although viral gene expression is restricted during latency, the latency-associated transcript (LAT) locus encodes many RNAs, including a 2 kb intron known as the hallmark of HSV-1 latency. Here, we studied HSV-1 infection and the role of the LAT locus in human skin xenografts in vivo and in cultured explants. We sequenced the genomes of our stock of HSV-1 strain 17syn+ and seven derived viruses and found nonsynonymous mutations in many viral proteins that had no impact on skin infection. In contrast, deletions in the LAT locus severely impaired HSV-1 replication and lesion formation in skin. However, skin replication was not affected by impaired intron splicing. Moreover, although the LAT locus has been implicated in regulating gene expression in neurones, we observed only small changes in transcript levels that were unrelated to the growth defect in skin, suggesting that its functions in skin may be different from those in neurones. Thus, although the LAT locus was previously thought to be dispensable for lytic infection, we show that it is a determinant of HSV-1 virulence during lytic infection of human skin.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1009166DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7794027PMC
December 2020

Publisher Correction: A glycoprotein B-neutralizing antibody structure at 2.8 Å uncovers a critical domain for herpesvirus fusion initiation.

Nat Commun 2020 08 28;11(1):4398. Epub 2020 Aug 28.

Department of Pediatrics, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA, 94305, USA.

An amendment to this paper has been published and can be accessed via a link at the top of the paper.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-18385-wDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7455691PMC
August 2020

A glycoprotein B-neutralizing antibody structure at 2.8 Å uncovers a critical domain for herpesvirus fusion initiation.

Nat Commun 2020 08 18;11(1):4141. Epub 2020 Aug 18.

Department of Pediatrics, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA, 94305, USA.

Members of the Herpesviridae, including the medically important alphaherpesvirus varicella-zoster virus (VZV), induce fusion of the virion envelope with cell membranes during entry, and between cells to form polykaryocytes in infected tissues. The conserved glycoproteins, gB, gH and gL, are the core functional proteins of the herpesvirus fusion complex. gB serves as the primary fusogen via its fusion loops, but functions for the remaining gB domains remain unexplained. As a pathway for biological discovery of domain function, our approach used structure-based analysis of the viral fusogen together with a neutralizing antibody. We report here a 2.8 Å cryogenic-electron microscopy structure of native gB recovered from VZV-infected cells, in complex with a human monoclonal antibody, 93k. This high-resolution structure guided targeted mutagenesis at the gB-93k interface, providing compelling evidence that a domain spatially distant from the gB fusion loops is critical for herpesvirus fusion, revealing a potential new target for antiviral therapies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-17911-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7435202PMC
August 2020

Characterization of Household and Community Shedding and Transmission of Oral Polio Vaccine in Mexican Communities With Varying Vaccination Coverage.

Clin Infect Dis 2018 10;67(suppl_1):S4-S17

Stanford University School of Medicine, California.

Background: The World Health Assembly 2012 Polio Eradication and Endgame Strategic Plan calls for the eventual cessation of all oral polio vaccines (OPVs), to be replaced with inactivated polio vaccine (IPV); however, IPV induces less robust mucosal immunity than OPV. This study characterized household and community OPV shedding and transmission after OPV vaccination within primarily IPV-vaccinated communities.

Methods: Households in 3 IPV-vaccinated Mexican communities were randomized to receive 3 levels of OPV vaccination coverage (70%, 30%, or 10%). Ten stool samples were collected from all household members over 71 days. Analysis compared vaccinated subjects, household contacts of vaccinated subjects, and subjects in unvaccinated households. Logistic and Cox regression models were fitted to characterize transmission of OPV by coverage and household vaccination status.

Results: Among 148 vaccinated children, 380 household contacts, and 1124 unvaccinated community contacts, 78%, 18%, and 7%, respectively, shed OPV. Community and household contacts showed no differences in transmission (odds ratio [OR], 0.67; 95% confidence interval [CI], .37-1.20), in shedding trajectory (OR, 0.61; 95% CI, .35-1.07), or in time to shedding (hazard ratio, 0.68; 95% CI, .39-1.19). Transmission began as quickly as 1 day after vaccination and persisted as long as 71 days after vaccination. Transmission within unvaccinated households differed significantly across vaccination coverage communities, with the 70% community experiencing the most transmissions (15%), and the 10% community experiencing the least (4%). These trends persisted over time and in the time to first shedding analyses.

Conclusions: Transmission did not differ between household contacts of vaccinees and unvaccinated households. Understanding poliovirus transmission dynamics is important for postcertification control.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/cid/ciy650DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6206120PMC
October 2018

Validation of a High-throughput, Multiplex, Real-time Qualitative Polymerase Chain Reaction Assay for the Detection of Sabin Oral Polio Vaccine in Environmental Samples.

Clin Infect Dis 2018 10;67(suppl_1):S98-S102

Stanford University School of Medicine, California.

Background: Currently, the primary mechanism for poliovirus detection is acute flaccid paralysis (AFP) surveillance, with environmental sampling serving as a complement. However, as AFP cases drop, environmental surveillance will become increasingly critical for poliovirus detection. Mexico provides a natural environment to study oral polio vaccine (OPV) transmission, as it provides routine injected polio vaccine immunization and biannual OPV campaigns in February and May.

Methods: As part of a study of OPV transmission in which 155 children were vaccinated with OPV, monthly sewage samples were collected from rivers leading from 3 indigenous Mexican villages (Capoluca, Campo Grande, and Tuxpanguillo) from February to May 2015. Samples were also collected from October 2015 to October 2017, during which time there were standard OPV campaigns. Samples were analyzed for the presence of OPV serotypes, using a real-time qualitative polymerase chain reaction assay capable of detecting as few as 9, 12, and 10 copies/100 µL of viral ribonucleic acid for OPV serotypes 1, 2, and 3 (OPV-1, -2, and -3), respectively. Included here are 54 samples, taken up to November 2016.

Results: Of the 54 samples, 13 (24%) were positive for OPV. After the vaccination of 155 children in February 2015, OPV was found 2 months after vaccination. After unrestricted OPV administration in February 2016, OPV was detected in sewage up to 8 months after vaccination. OPV-3 was found in 11 of the 13 positive samples (85%), OPV-2 was found in 3 positive samples (23%), and OPV-1 was found in 1 sample (8%).

Conclusions: OPV can be detected even when small amounts of the vaccine are introduced into a community, as shown by OPV-positive sewage samples even when only 155 children were vaccinated. When OPV vaccination was unrestricted, sewage samples were positive up to 8 months after vaccination, implying community OPV circulation for at least 8 months. OPV-3 was the serotype most found in these samples, indicating prolonged transmission of OPV-3 when compared to the other serotypes. Future work could compare the phylogenetic variance of OPV isolates from sewage after OPV vaccinations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/cid/ciy639DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6206112PMC
October 2018

Lab Protocol Paper: Use of a High-throughput, Multiplex Reverse-transcription Quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction Assay for Detection of Sabin Oral Polio Vaccine in Fecal Samples.

Clin Infect Dis 2018 10;67(suppl_1):S121-S126

Stanford University School of Medicine, California.

Background: Global polio eradication efforts rely in part on molecular methods of detecting polioviruses, both wild and vaccine strains, from human and environmental samples. Previous assays used for detection of Sabin oral polio vaccine (OPV) in fecal samples have been labor and time intensive and vary in their sensitivity and specificity.

Methods: We developed a high-throughput, multiplex reverse-transcription quantitative polymerase chain reaction assay able to detect all 3 OPV strains in fecal samples. The assay used a KingFisher Duo Prime system for viral RNA isolation and extraction. Positive samples were retested and Sanger sequenced for verification of Sabin serotype identity.

Results: The 95% lower limit of detection was determined to be 3 copies per reaction for Sabin 1 and 3 and 4 copies per reaction for Sabin 2, with no cross-reactivity between the 3 serotypes and their primers. A total of 554 samples (3.6%) were positive, with 304 positive samples (54.9%) containing >1 serotype. Of the positive samples, 476 (85.9%) contained enough RNA to be sequenced, and of these all sequences were Sabin serotypes. The previous assay we used could process 48 samples in a 10-hour period, whereas the new assay processed >100 samples in 6 hours.

Conclusions: The new high-throughput, multiplex reverse-transcription quantitative polymerase chain reaction assay allowed for sensitive and specific detection of OPV serotypes while greatly decreasing sample handling and processing time. We were able to sequence 72.4% of the 210 positive samples in the cycle threshold range of 35-37.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/cid/ciy648DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6206103PMC
October 2018

The C-terminus of varicella-zoster virus glycoprotein M contains trafficking motifs that mediate skin virulence in the SCID-human model of VZV pathogenesis.

Virology 2018 10 14;523:110-120. Epub 2018 Aug 14.

Departments of Pediatrics, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA, United States; Departments of Microbiology & Immunology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA, United States.

Knowledge about the function of varicella-zoster virus glycoprotein M is limited; the requirement of gM for skin and neural tropism are unknown. VZV gM contains two predicted YXXΦ trafficking motifs and a dileucine motif in the carboxyl-terminus. We constructed a recombinant VZV with gM truncated from the first YXXΦ and five additional viruses with YXXΦ tyrosine substitutions, alone and in combination with dileucine substitution. All recombinant viruses grew to high titer but mutation of the membrane-proximal YXXΦ motif reduced plaque size in cultured cells and altered gM localization. C-terminus truncation had a pronounced effect on virion morphogenesis and plaque size, but not on overall replication kinetics in vitro. Mutation of gM trafficking motifs and truncation attenuated replication in human skin xenografts in vivo; gM truncation did not alter neurotropism. Our results demonstrate that the gM C-terminus is dispensable for virus replication in cultured cells but is important for skin pathogenesis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.virol.2018.08.003DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6143146PMC
October 2018

Mutational analysis of varicella-zoster virus (VZV) immediate early protein (IE62) subdomains and their importance in viral replication.

Virology 2016 May 23;492:82-91. Epub 2016 Feb 23.

Departments of Pediatrics and Microbiology & Immunology, Stan ford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA, United States.

VZV IE62 is an essential, immediate-early, tegument protein and consists of five domains. We generated recombinant viruses carrying mutations in the first three IE62 domains and tested their influence on VZV replication kinetics. The mutations in domain I did not affect replication kinetics while domain II mutations, disrupting the DNA binding and dimerization domain (DBD), were lethal for VZV replication. Mutations in domain III of the nuclear localization signal (NLS) and the two phosphorylation sites S686A/S722A resulted in slower growth in early and late infection respectively and were associated with IE62 accumulation in the cytoplasm and nucleus respectively. This study mapped the functional domains of IE62 in context of viral infection, indicating that DNA binding and dimerization domain is essential for VZV replication. In addition, the correct localization of IE62, whether nuclear or cytoplasmic, at different points in the viral life cycle, is important for normal progression of VZV replication.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.virol.2016.02.012DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4826839PMC
May 2016

Varicella-zoster virus (VZV) origin of DNA replication oriS influences origin-dependent DNA replication and flanking gene transcription.

Virology 2015 Jul 17;481:179-86. Epub 2015 Mar 17.

Departments of Pediatrics and Microbiology & Immunology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA, United States.

The VZV genome has two origins of DNA replication (oriS), each of which consists of an AT-rich sequence and three origin binding protein (OBP) sites called Box A, C and B. In these experiments, the mutation in the core sequence CGC of the Box A and C not only inhibited DNA replication but also inhibited both ORF62 and ORF63 expression in reporter gene assays. In contrast the Box B mutation did not influence DNA replication or flanking gene transcription. These results suggest that efficient DNA replication enhances ORF62 and ORF63 transcription. Recombinant viruses carrying these mutations in both sites and one with a deletion of the whole oriS were constructed. Surprisingly, the recombinant virus lacking both copies of oriS retained the capacity to replicate in melanoma and HELF cells suggesting that VZV has another origin of DNA replication.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.virol.2015.02.049DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4437856PMC
July 2015

Cellular transcription factor YY1 mediates the varicella-zoster virus (VZV) IE62 transcriptional activation.

Virology 2014 Jan 12;449:244-53. Epub 2013 Dec 12.

Department of Microbiology and Immunology and the Witebsky Center for Microbial Pathogenesis and Immunology, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY, United States.

Several cellular transcription factors have been shown to be involved in IE62-mediated activation. The YY1 cellular transcription factor has activating and repressive effects on gene transcription. Analysis of the VZV genome revealed 19 postulated YY1 binding sites located within putative promoters of 16 VZV genes. Electrophoretic mobility shift assays (EMSA) confirmed the binding of YY1 to ORF10, ORF28/29 and gI promoters and the mutation of these binding sites inhibited YY1 binding and the promoter activation by IE62 alone or following VZV infection. Mutation of the ORF28/29 YY1 site in the VZV genome displayed insignificant influence on virus growth in melanoma cells; but it inhibited the virus replication significantly at day 5 and 6 post infection in HELF cells. This work suggests a novel role for the cellular factor YY1 in VZV replication through the mediation of IE62 activation of viral gene expression.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.virol.2013.11.029DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3901949PMC
January 2014

Regulation of the varicella-zoster virus ORF3 promoter by cellular and viral factors.

Virology 2013 Jun 21;440(2):171-81. Epub 2013 Mar 21.

Departments of Pediatrics and Microbiology & Immunology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA 94305, United States.

The varicella zoster virus (VZV) immediate early 62 protein (IE62) activates most if not all identified promoters of VZV genes and also some minimum model promoters that contain only a TATA box element. Analysis of the DNA elements that function in IE62 activation of the VZV ORF3 promoter revealed that the 100 nucleotides before the translation start site of the ORF3 gene contains the promoter elements. This promoter lacks any functional TATA box element. Cellular transcription factors Sp1, Sp3 and YY1 bind to the promoter, and mutation of their binding sites inhibited ORF3 gene expression. VZV regulatory proteins, IE63 and ORF29, ORF61 and ORF10 proteins inhibited IE62-mediated activation of this promoter. Mutation of the Sp1/Sp3 binding site in the VZV genome did not alter VZV replication kinetics. This work suggests that Sp family proteins contribute to the activation of VZV promoters by IE62 in the absence of functional TATA box.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.virol.2013.02.019DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3640663PMC
June 2013

ORF11 protein interacts with the ORF9 essential tegument protein in varicella-zoster virus infection.

J Virol 2013 May 20;87(9):5106-17. Epub 2013 Feb 20.

Department of Pediatrics, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California, USA.

The tegument proteins encoded by ORF11 and ORF9 of varicella-zoster virus (VZV) are conserved among all alphaherpesvirus. We previously demonstrated that the ORF9 gene is essential, whereas ORF11 is dispensable in vitro but its deletion severely impairs VZV infection of skin xenografts in the SCID mouse model in vivo. Here we report that ORF11 protein interacts with ORF9 protein in infected cells as well as in the absence of other viral proteins, and we have mapped the ORF11 protein domain involved in their interaction. Although ORF11 is an RNA binding protein, the interaction between ORF11 and ORF9 proteins was not mediated by RNA or DNA bridging. VZV recombinants with mutations preventing ORF11 protein binding to ORF9 protein had no effect on 6-day growth kinetics based on plaque numbers, but plaque sizes were reduced in vitro. However, disruption of the ORF11 and ORF9 protein interaction was associated with failure to replicate in skin xenografts in vivo. Further, we demonstrate that in the absence of their interaction, the ORF9 protein displays an identical cellular localization, accumulating in the trans-Golgi region, whereas the ORF11 protein exhibits aberrant localization, dispersing throughout the cytoplasm. Overall, our observations suggest that while complete tegument assembly may not be necessary for VZV replication in vitro, the interaction between the ORF11 and ORF9 proteins appears to be critical for the proper localization of ORF11 protein to the assembly complex and for production of infectious virus during VZV pathogenesis in skin.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/JVI.00102-13DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3624291PMC
May 2013

Identification of a hydrophobic domain in varicella-zoster virus ORF61 necessary for ORF61 self-interaction, viral replication, and skin pathogenesis.

J Virol 2013 Apr 23;87(7):4075-9. Epub 2013 Jan 23.

Department of Pediatrics, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California, USA.

The varicella-zoster virus (VZV) ORF61 protein is necessary for normal replication in vitro and virulence in human skin xenografts in the severe combined immunodeficiency mouse model in vivo. These experiments identify a hydrophobic domain that mediates ORF61 self-interaction. While not needed to inhibit host cell defenses, disruption of this domain (residues 250 to 320) severely impairs VZV growth, transactivation of the immediate early 63 and glycoprotein E genes, and the pathogenesis of VZV skin infection in vivo.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/JVI.02963-12DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3624212PMC
April 2013

An immunoreceptor tyrosine-based inhibition motif in varicella-zoster virus glycoprotein B regulates cell fusion and skin pathogenesis.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2013 Jan 15;110(5):1911-6. Epub 2013 Jan 15.

Department of Pediatrics, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.

Herpesvirus entry functions of the conserved glycoproteins gB and gH-gL have been delineated, but their role in regulating cell-cell fusion is poorly understood. Varicella-zoster virus (VZV) infection provides a valuable model for investigating cell-cell fusion because of the importance of this process for pathogenesis in human skin and sensory ganglia. The present study identifies a canonical immunoreceptor tyrosine-based inhibition motif (ITIM) in the gB cytoplasmic domain (gBcyt) and demonstrates that the gBcyt is a tyrosine kinase substrate. Orbitrap mass spectrometry confirmed that Y881, central to the ITIM, is phosphorylated. To determine whether the gBcyt ITIM regulates gB/gH-gL-induced cell-cell fusion in vitro, tyrosine residues Y881 and Y920 in the gBcyt were substituted with phenylalanine separately or together. Recombinant viruses with these substitutions were generated to establish their effects on syncytia formation in replication in vitro and in the human skin xenograft model of VZV pathogenesis. The Y881F substitution caused significantly increased cell-cell fusion despite reduced cell-surface gB. Importantly, the Y881F or Y881/920F substitutions in VZV caused aggressive syncytia formation, reducing cell-cell spread. These in vitro effects of aggressive syncytia formation translated to severely impaired skin infection in vivo. In contrast, the Y920F substitution did not affect virus replication in vitro or in vivo. These observations suggest that gB modulates cell-cell fusion via an ITIM-mediated Y881 phosphorylation-dependent mechanism, supporting a unique concept that intracellular signaling through this gBcyt motif regulates VZV syncytia formation and is essential for skin pathogenesis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1216985110DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3562845PMC
January 2013

An Sp1/Sp3 site in the downstream region of varicella-zoster virus (VZV) oriS influences origin-dependent DNA replication and flanking gene transcription and is important for VZV replication in vitro and in human skin.

J Virol 2012 Dec 29;86(23):13070-80. Epub 2012 Aug 29.

Department of Microbiology and Immunology, and the Witebsky Center for Microbial Pathogenesis and Immunology, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, New York, USA.

The distribution and orientation of origin-binding protein (OBP) sites are the main architectural contrasts between varicella-zoster virus (VZV) and herpes simplex virus (HSV) origins of DNA replication (oriS). One important difference is the absence of a downstream OBP site in VZV, raising the possibility that an alternative cis element may replace its function. Our previous work established that Sp1, Sp3, and YY1 bind to specific sites within the downstream region of VZV oriS; we hypothesize that one or both of these sites may be the alternative cis element(s). Here, we show that the mutation of the Sp1/Sp3 site decreases DNA replication and transcription from the adjacent ORF62 and ORF63 promoters following superinfection with VZV. In contrast, in the absence of DNA replication or in transfection experiments with ORF62, only ORF63 transcription is affected. YY1 site mutations had no significant effect on either process. Recombinant viruses containing these mutations were then constructed. The Sp1/Sp3 site mutant exhibited a significant decrease in virus growth in MeWo cells and in human skin xenografts, while the YY1 site mutant virus grew as well as the wild type in MeWo cells, even showing a late increase in VZV replication in skin xenografts following infection. These results suggest that the Sp1/Sp3 site plays an important role in both VZV origin-dependent DNA replication and ORF62 and ORF63 transcription and that, in contrast to HSV, these events are linked during virus replication.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/JVI.01538-12DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3497629PMC
December 2012

Structure-function analysis of varicella-zoster virus glycoprotein H identifies domain-specific roles for fusion and skin tropism.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2011 Nov 24;108(45):18412-7. Epub 2011 Oct 24.

Department of Pediatrics, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.

Enveloped viruses require membrane fusion for cell entry and replication. For herpesviruses, this event is governed by the multiprotein core complex of conserved glycoproteins (g)B and gH/gL. The recent crystal structures of gH/gL from herpes simplex virus 2, pseudorabies virus, and Epstein-Barr virus revealed distinct domains that, surprisingly, do not resemble known viral fusogens. Varicella-zoster virus (VZV) causes chicken pox and shingles. VZV is an α-herpesvirus closely related to herpes simplex virus 2, enabling prediction of the VZV gH structure by homology modeling. We have defined specific roles for each gH domain in VZV replication and pathogenesis using structure-based site-directed mutagenesis of gH. The distal tip of domain (D)I was important for skin tropism, entry, and fusion. DII helices and a conserved disulfide bond were essential for gH structure and VZV replication. An essential (724)CXXC(727) motif was critical for DIII structural stability and membrane fusion. This assignment of domain-dependent mechanisms to VZV gH links elements of the glycoprotein structure to function in herpesvirus replication and virulence.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1111333108DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3215059PMC
November 2011

Varicella zoster virus ORF25 gene product: an essential hub protein linking encapsidation proteins and the nuclear egress complex.

J Proteome Res 2011 Dec 26;10(12):5374-82. Epub 2011 Oct 26.

Max von Pettenkofer-Institute, Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich, Germany.

Varicella zoster virus (VZV) ORF25 is a 156 amino acid protein belonging to the approximately 40 core proteins that are conserved throughout the Herpesviridae. By analogy to its functional orthologue UL33 in Herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1), ORF25 is thought to be a component of the terminase complex. To investigate how cleavage and encapsidation of viral DNA links to the nuclear egress of mature capsids in VZV, we tested 10 VZV proteins that are predicted to be involved in either of the two processes for protein interactions against each other using three independent protein-protein interaction (PPI) detection systems: the yeast-two-hybrid (Y2H) system, a luminescence based MBP pull-down interaction screening assay (LuMPIS), and a bioluminescence resonance energy transfer (BRET) assay. A set of 20 interactions was consistently detected by at least 2 methods and resulted in a dense interaction network between proteins associated in encapsidation and nuclear egress. The results indicate that the terminase complex in VZV consists of ORF25, ORF30, and ORF45/42 and support a model in which both processes are closely linked to each other. Consistent with its role as a central hub for protein interactions, ORF25 is shown to be essential for VZV replication.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/pr200628sDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3230707PMC
December 2011

Disruption of PML nuclear bodies is mediated by ORF61 SUMO-interacting motifs and required for varicella-zoster virus pathogenesis in skin.

PLoS Pathog 2011 Aug 25;7(8):e1002157. Epub 2011 Aug 25.

Department of Pediatrics, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California, United States of America.

Promyelocytic leukemia protein (PML) has antiviral functions and many viruses encode gene products that disrupt PML nuclear bodies (PML NBs). However, evidence of the relevance of PML NB modification for viral pathogenesis is limited and little is known about viral gene functions required for PML NB disruption in infected cells in vivo. Varicella-zoster virus (VZV) is a human alphaherpesvirus that causes cutaneous lesions during primary and recurrent infection. Here we show that VZV disrupts PML NBs in infected cells in human skin xenografts in SCID mice and that the disruption is achieved by open reading frame 61 (ORF61) protein via its SUMO-interacting motifs (SIMs). Three conserved SIMs mediated ORF61 binding to SUMO1 and were required for ORF61 association with and disruption of PML NBs. Mutation of the ORF61 SIMs in the VZV genome showed that these motifs were necessary for PML NB dispersal in VZV-infected cells in vitro. In vivo, PML NBs were highly abundant, especially in basal layer cells of uninfected skin, whereas their frequency was significantly decreased in VZV-infected cells. In contrast, mutation of the ORF61 SIMs reduced ORF61 association with PML NBs, most PML NBs remained intact and importantly, viral replication in skin was severely impaired. The ORF61 SIM mutant virus failed to cause the typical VZV lesions that penetrate across the basement membrane into the dermis and viral spread in the epidermis was limited. These experiments indicate that VZV pathogenesis in skin depends upon the ORF61-mediated disruption of PML NBs and that the ORF61 SUMO-binding function is necessary for this effect. More broadly, our study elucidates the importance of PML NBs for the innate control of a viral pathogen during infection of differentiated cells within their tissue microenvironment in vivo and the requirement for a viral protein with SUMO-binding capacity to counteract this intrinsic barrier.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1002157DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3161977PMC
August 2011

Mutagenesis of varicella-zoster virus glycoprotein I (gI) identifies a cysteine residue critical for gE/gI heterodimer formation, gI structure, and virulence in skin cells.

J Virol 2011 May 23;85(9):4095-110. Epub 2011 Feb 23.

Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.

Varicella-zoster virus (VZV) is the alphaherpesvirus that causes chicken pox (varicella) and shingles (zoster). The two VZV glycoproteins gE and gI form a heterodimer that mediates efficient cell-to-cell spread. Deletion of gI yields a small-plaque-phenotype virus, ΔgI virus, which is avirulent in human skin using the xenograft model of VZV pathogenesis. In the present study, 10 mutant viruses were generated to determine which residues were required for the typical function of gI. Three phosphorylation sites in the cytoplasmic domain of gI were not required for VZV virulence in vivo. Two deletion mutants mapped a gE binding region in gI to residues 105 to 125. A glycosylation site, N116, in this region did not affect virulence. Substitution of four cysteine residues highly conserved in the Alphaherpesvirinae established that C95 is required for gE/gI heterodimer formation. The C95A and Δ105-125 (with residues 105 to 125 deleted) viruses had small-plaque phenotypes with reduced replication kinetics in vitro similar to those of the ΔgI virus. The Δ105-125 virus was avirulent for human skin in vivo. In contrast, the C95A mutant replicated in vivo but with significantly reduced kinetics compared to those of the wild-type virus. In addition to abolished gE/gI heterodimer formation, gI from the C95A or the Δ105-125 mutant was not recognized by monoclonal antibodies that detect the canonical conformation of gI, demonstrating structural disruption of gI in these viruses. This alteration prevented gI incorporation into virus particles. Thus, residues C95 and 105 to 125 are critical for gI structure required for gE/gI heterodimer formation, virion incorporation, and ultimately, effective viral spread in human skin.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/JVI.02596-10DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3126246PMC
May 2011

Entrapment of viral capsids in nuclear PML cages is an intrinsic antiviral host defense against varicella-zoster virus.

PLoS Pathog 2011 Feb 3;7(2):e1001266. Epub 2011 Feb 3.

Department of Pediatrics, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California, USA.

The herpesviruses, like most other DNA viruses, replicate in the host cell nucleus. Subnuclear domains known as promyelocytic leukemia protein nuclear bodies (PML-NBs), or ND10 bodies, have been implicated in restricting early herpesviral gene expression. These viruses have evolved countermeasures to disperse PML-NBs, as shown in cells infected in vitro, but information about the fate of PML-NBs and their functions in herpesvirus infected cells in vivo is limited. Varicella-zoster virus (VZV) is an alphaherpesvirus with tropism for skin, lymphocytes and sensory ganglia, where it establishes latency. Here, we identify large PML-NBs that sequester newly assembled nucleocapsids (NC) in neurons and satellite cells of human dorsal root ganglia (DRG) and skin cells infected with VZV in vivo. Quantitative immuno-electron microscopy revealed that these distinctive nuclear bodies consisted of PML fibers forming spherical cages that enclosed mature and immature VZV NCs. Of six PML isoforms, only PML IV promoted the sequestration of NCs. PML IV significantly inhibited viral infection and interacted with the ORF23 capsid surface protein, which was identified as a target for PML-mediated NC sequestration. The unique PML IV C-terminal domain was required for both capsid entrapment and antiviral activity. Similar large PML-NBs, termed clastosomes, sequester aberrant polyglutamine (polyQ) proteins, such as Huntingtin (Htt), in several neurodegenerative disorders. We found that PML IV cages co-sequester HttQ72 and ORF23 protein in VZV infected cells. Our data show that PML cages contribute to the intrinsic antiviral defense by sensing and entrapping VZV nucleocapsids, thereby preventing their nuclear egress and inhibiting formation of infectious virus particles. The efficient sequestration of virion capsids in PML cages appears to be the outcome of a basic cytoprotective function of this distinctive category of PML-NBs in sensing and safely containing nuclear aggregates of aberrant proteins.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1001266DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3033373PMC
February 2011

Identification and functional characterization of the Varicella zoster virus ORF11 gene product.

Virology 2011 Mar 26;412(1):156-66. Epub 2011 Jan 26.

Departments of Pediatrics and Microbiology and Immunology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.

The deletion of ORF11 severely impaired VZV infection of human skin xenografts. Here, we investigate the characteristics and functions of the ORF11 gene product. ORF11 is expressed as a 118kDa polypeptide in VZV-infected cells; the protein is present in the nucleus and cytoplasm and is incorporated into VZ virions. Although ORF11 had little effect in transactivating VZV gene promoters in transfection assays, deleting ORF11 from the virus was associated with reduced expression of immediate early proteins IE4, IE62 and IE63, and the major glycoprotein, gE. ORF11 was identified as an RNA binding protein and its RNA binding domain was defined. However, disrupting the ORF11 RNA binding domain did not affect skin infection, indicating that RNA binding capacity, conserved among the alphaherpesviruses homologues, is not essential while the contribution of ORF11 to the expression of the IE proteins and gE may be required for VZV pathogenesis in skin in vivo.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.virol.2010.12.055DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3068617PMC
March 2011

Varicella-zoster virus immediate-early protein 62 blocks interferon regulatory factor 3 (IRF3) phosphorylation at key serine residues: a novel mechanism of IRF3 inhibition among herpesviruses.

J Virol 2010 Sep 14;84(18):9240-53. Epub 2010 Jul 14.

Department of Pediatrics, Stanford University School of Medicine, Room S356, Grant Building, 300 Pasteur Drive, Stanford, CA 94305-5208, USA.

Varicella-zoster virus (VZV) is an alphaherpesvirus that is restricted to humans. VZV infection of differentiated cells within the host and establishment of latency likely require evasion of innate immunity and limited secretion of antiviral cytokines. Since interferons (IFNs) severely limit VZV replication, we examined the ability of VZV to modulate the induction of the type I IFN response in primary human embryonic lung fibroblasts (HELF). IFN-beta production was not detected, and transcription of two interferon response factor 3 (IRF3)-dependent interferon-stimulated genes (ISGs), ISG54 and ISG56, in response to poly(I:C) stimulation was downregulated in VZV-infected HELF. Inhibition of IRF3 function did not require VZV replication; the viral immediate-early protein 62 (IE62) alone was sufficient to produce this effect. IE62 blocked TBK1-mediated IFN-beta secretion and IRF3 function, as shown in an IFN-stimulated response element (ISRE)-luciferase reporter assay. However, IRF3 function was preserved if constitutively active IRF3 (IRF3-5D) was expressed in VZV-infected or IE62-transfected cells, indicating that VZV interferes with IRF3 phosphorylation. IE62-mediated inhibition was mapped to blocking phosphorylation of at least three serine residues on IRF3. However, IE62 binding to TBK1 or IRF3 was not detected and IE62 did not perturb TBK1-IRF3 complex formation. IE62-mediated inhibition of IRF3 function was maintained even if IE62 transactivator activity was disrupted. Thus, IE62 has two critical but discrete roles following VZV entry: to induce expression of VZV genes and to disarm the IFN-dependent antiviral defense through a novel mechanism that prevents IRF3 phosphorylation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/JVI.01147-10DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2937611PMC
September 2010

Herpes simplex virus-1 induces expression of a novel MxA isoform that enhances viral replication.

Immunol Cell Biol 2011 Feb 6;89(2):173-82. Epub 2010 Jul 6.

The Graduate Institute of Immunology, College of Medicine, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan, ROC.

MxA is an antiviral protein induced by interferon (IFN)-α/β that is known to inhibit the replication of many RNA viruses. In these experiments, the 76-kDa MxA protein expressed in IFN-α-treated cells was shown to have antiviral activity against herpes simplex virus-1 (HSV-1), a human DNA virus. However, MxA was expressed as a 56-kDa protein in HSV-1-infected cells in the absence of IFN-α. This previously unrecognized MxA isoform was produced from an alternatively spliced MxA transcript that had a deletion of Exons 14-16 and a frame shift altering the C-terminus. The variant MxA (varMxA) isoform was associated with HSV-1 regulatory proteins and virions in nuclear replication compartments. varMxA expression enhanced HSV-1 infection as shown by a reduction in infectious virus titers from cells in which MxA had been inhibited by RNA interference and by an increase in HSV-1 titers when the 56-kDa varMxA was expressed constitutively. Thus, the human MxA gene encodes two MxA isoforms, which are expressed differentially depending on whether the stimulus is IFN-α or HSV-1. These findings show that alternative splicing of cellular mRNA can result in expression of a novel isoform of a host defense gene that supports instead of restricting viral infection.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/icb.2010.83DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5520797PMC
February 2011

Varicella-zoster virus T cell tropism and the pathogenesis of skin infection.

Curr Top Microbiol Immunol 2010 ;342:189-209

Department of Pediatrics, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA, USA.

Varicella-zoster virus (VZV) is a medically important human alphaherpesvirus that causes varicella and zoster. VZV initiates primary infection by inoculation of the respiratory mucosa. In the course of primary infection, VZV establishes a life-long persistence in sensory ganglia; VZV reactivation from latency may result in zoster in healthy and immunocompromised patients. The VZV genome has at least 70 known or predicted open reading frames (ORFs), but understanding how these gene products function in virulence is difficult because VZV is a highly human-specific pathogen. We have addressed this obstacle by investigating VZV infection of human tissue xenografts in the severe combined immunodeficiency mouse model. In studies relevant to the pathogenesis of primary VZV infection, we have examined VZV infection of human T cell (thymus/liver) and skin xenografts. This work supports a new paradigm for VZV pathogenesis in which VZV T cell tropism provides a mechanism for delivering the virus to skin. We have also shown that VZV-infected T cells transfer VZV to neurons in sensory ganglia. The construction of infectious VZV recombinants that have deletions or targeted mutations of viral genes or their promoters and the evaluation of VZV mutants in T cell and skin xenografts has revealed determinants of VZV virulence that are important for T cell and skin tropism in vivo.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/82_2010_29DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4077053PMC
November 2010

Analysis of the functions of glycoproteins E and I and their promoters during VZV replication in vitro and in skin and T-cell xenografts in the SCID mouse model of VZV pathogenesis.

Curr Top Microbiol Immunol 2010 ;342:129-46

Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.

The two VZV glycoproteins, gE and gI, are encoded by genes that are designated open reading frames, ORF67 and ORF68, located in the short unique region of the VZV genome. These proteins have homologs in the other alphaherpesviruses. Like their homologues, VZV gE and gI exhibit prominent co-localization in infected cells and form heterodimers. However, VZV gE is much larger than its homologues because it has a unique N-terminal domain, consisting of 188 amino acids that are not present in these other gene products. VZV gE also differs from the related gE proteins, in that it is essential for viral replication. Targeted mutations of gE that are compatible with VZV replication in cultured cells have varying phenotypes in skin and T-cell xenografts in the SCID mouse model of VZV pathogenesis in vivo. While gI is dispensable for growth in cultured cells in vitro, this glycoprotein is essential for VZV infection of differentiated human skin and T cells in vivo. The promoter regions of gE and gI are regulated by the cellular transactivator, specificity protein factor 1 (Sp1) in combination with the major VZV transactivator in reporter construct experiments and some Sp1 promoter elements are important for VZV virulence in vivo. Further analysis of VZV gE and gI functions and their interactions with other viral and host cell proteins are important areas for studies of VZV replication and pathogenesis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/82_2009_1DOI Listing
November 2010

Functions of the unique N-terminal region of glycoprotein E in the pathogenesis of varicella-zoster virus infection.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2010 Jan 4;107(1):282-7. Epub 2009 Dec 4.

Department of Pediatrics, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.

Varicella-zoster virus (VZV) is an alphaherpesvirus that infects skin, lymphocytes, and sensory ganglia. VZV glycoprotein E (gE) has a unique N-terminal region (aa1-188), which is required for replication and includes domains involved in secondary envelopment, efficient cell-cell spread, and skin infection in vivo. The nonconserved N-terminal region also mediates binding to the insulin-degrading enzyme (IDE), which is proposed to be a VZV receptor. Using viral mutagenesis to make the recombinant rOka-DeltaP27-G90, we showed that amino acids in this region are required for gE/IDE binding in infected cells; this deletion reduced cell-cell spread in vitro and skin infection in vivo. However, a gE point mutation, linker insertions, and partial deletions in the aa27-90 region, and deletion of a large portion of the unique N-terminal region, aa52-187, had similar or more severe effects on VZV replication in vitro and in vivo without disrupting the gE/IDE interaction. VZV replication in T cells in vivo was not impaired by deletion of gE aa27-90, suggesting that these gE residues are not essential for VZV T cell tropism. However, the rOka-DeltaY51-P187 mutant failed to replicate in T cell xenografts as well as skin in vivo. VZV tropism for T cells and skin, which is necessary for its life cycle in the human host, requires this nonconserved region of the N-terminal region of VZV gE.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.0912373107DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2806775PMC
January 2010

Mutagenesis of varicella-zoster virus glycoprotein B: putative fusion loop residues are essential for viral replication, and the furin cleavage motif contributes to pathogenesis in skin tissue in vivo.

J Virol 2009 Aug 27;83(15):7495-506. Epub 2009 May 27.

Department of Pediatrics, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California 94305, USA.

Glycoprotein B (gB), the most conserved protein in the family Herpesviridae, is essential for the fusion of viral and cellular membranes. Information about varicella-zoster virus (VZV) gB is limited, but homology modeling showed that the structure of VZV gB was similar to that of herpes simplex virus (HSV) gB, including the putative fusion loops. In contrast to HSV gB, VZV gB had a furin recognition motif ([R]-X-[KR]-R-|-X, where | indicates the position at which the polypeptide is cleaved) at residues 491 to 494, thought to be required for gB cleavage into two polypeptides. To investigate their contribution, the putative primary fusion loop or the furin recognition motif was mutated in expression constructs and in the context of the VZV genome. Substitutions in the primary loop, W180G and Y185G, plus the deletion mutation Delta491RSRR494 and point mutation 491GSGG494 in the furin recognition motif did not affect gB expression or cellular localization in transfected cells. Infectious VZV was recovered from parental Oka (pOka)-bacterial artificial chromosomes that had either the Delta491RSRR494 or 491GSGG494 mutation but not the point mutations W180G and Y185G, demonstrating that residues in the primary loop of gB were essential but gB cleavage was not required for VZV replication in vitro. Virion morphology, protein localization, plaque size, and replication were unaffected for the pOka-gBDelta491RSRR494 or pOka-gB491GSGG494 virus compared to pOka in vitro. However, deletion of the furin recognition motif caused attenuation of VZV replication in human skin xenografts in vivo. This is the first evidence that cleavage of a herpesvirus fusion protein contributes to viral pathogenesis in vivo, as seen for fusion proteins in other virus families.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/JVI.00400-09DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2708640PMC
August 2009

Regulation of the ORF61 promoter and ORF61 functions in varicella-zoster virus replication and pathogenesis.

J Virol 2009 Aug 20;83(15):7560-72. Epub 2009 May 20.

Department of Pediatrics, Stanford University School of Medicine, 300 Pasteur Drive, S356, Stanford, CA 94305-5208, USA.

Varicella-zoster virus (VZV) open reading frame 61 (ORF61) encodes a protein that transactivates viral and cellular promoters in transient-transfection assays and is the ortholog of herpes simplex virus ICP0. In this report, we mapped the ORF61 promoter and investigated its regulation by viral and cellular proteins in transient-expression experiments and by mutagenesis of the VZV genome (parent Oka strain). The 5' boundary of the minimal ORF61 promoter required for IE62 transactivation was mapped to position -95 relative to the mRNA start site, and three noncanonical GT-rich Sp1-binding sites were documented to occur within the region comprising positions -95 to -45. Contributions of the three Sp1-binding-site motifs, designated Sp1a, Sp1b, and Sp1c, to ORF61 expression and viral replication were varied despite their similar sequences. Two sites, Sp1a and Sp1c, functioned synergistically. When both sites were mutated in the pOka genome to produce pOka-61proDeltaSp1ac, the mutant virus expressed significantly less ORF61 protein. Using this mutant to investigate ORF61 functions resulted in reductions in the expression levels of IE proteins, viral kinases ORF47 and ORF66, and the major glycoprotein gE, with the most impact on gE. Virion morphogenesis appeared to be intact despite minimal ORF61 expression. Pretreating melanoma cells with sodium butyrate enhanced titers of pOka-61proDeltaSp1ac but not pOka, suggesting that ORF61 has a role in histone deacetylase inhibition. Growth of pOka-61proDeltaSp1ac was impaired in SCIDhu skin xenografts, indicating that the regulation of the ORF61 promoter by Sp1 family proteins is important for ORF61 expression in vivo and that ORF61 contributes to VZV virulence at skin sites of replication.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/JVI.00118-09DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2708633PMC
August 2009