Murine cytomegalovirus (MCMV)-induced protein synthesis in mouse embryo fibroblast (MEF) cells was studied using polyacrylamide gradient SDS gel electrophoresis and autoradiography. Synthesis of at least 14 virus induced proteins (VIPs) was consistently detected in a lytic cycle. They were designated VIPs 132, 118, 99, 98, 88, 81, 76, 74, 58, 56, 51, 38, 36 and 33 on the basis of their mol. wt.

Judging from the pattern of the rate of protein synthesis, VIPs can be classified into three groups: group A VIPs were synthesized actively for a brief period of time and then their synthesis was no longer detectable. This group included two major VIPs, 98 and 88 and three minor VIPs, 58, 56 and 38. Group B VIPs 81, 74, 36 and 33 were similar to group A except that, following a brief period of active synthesis, a low level of synthesis continued during the entire lytic cycle. Group C VIPs 132, 118, 99, 76 and 51 were synthesized at low steady levels at all times after initiation and seemed to accumulate slowly.

According to temporal sequences of initiation of VIP synthesis, these proteins can also be divided into three groups: immediate early, early and late VIPs. The synthesis of the immediate early VIPs 132, 98, 88, 81, 76, 74 and 38 was initiated immediately after virus infection. The early VIPs included 58, 56, 51, 36 and 33 and their synthesis was initiated from 1 to 3 h post-infection. VIPs 118, 99 and several minor VIPs were first synthesized during 12 to 13 h post-infection which corresponded to the time of initiation of virus DNA synthesis and they are classified as late VIPs.

Cycloheximide reversal experiments indicated that the initiation of synthesis of early VIPs must be preceded by the synthesis of immediate early VIPs. In the presence of actinomycin D, the immediate early VIPs (0 to 1 h post-infection) were not synthesized indicating that immediate early VIPs are translated from virus mRNA synthesized after virus infection.


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