We have analysed by restriction site mapping the structures of the termini and L-S joint in several HSV-1/HSV-2 intertypic recombinants, including Bx1(28-1), the virion DNA of which has a marked overabundance of one orientation of the L segment, and subclones of Bx1(28-1). All recombinants with both orientations of L present in equal amounts contain TR and IR regions derived at least in part from the same parent (HSV-1 or HSV-2) as a result of previously undetected crossovers in these regions. Recombinants with a predominance of one orientation of L have TR and IR regions derived from different parents. Homology between sequences alone at the L terminus and L-S joint is sufficient for normal inversion of L. Analysis of another recombinant, RE4, which fails to invert normally in both L and S, suggests that normal inversion of S is dependent upon the presence of TR and IR regions derived at least in part from the same parent. We conclude that segment inversion specifically depends upon the sequence, that the process of DNA replication and maturation does not necessarily produce molecules with identical sequences, and that direct ligation of termini may occur during DNA replication.

Keyword(s): a sequence , HSV , inversion and recombinants

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