Molecular hybridization experiments were carried out to investigate homologous regions in the genomes of herpes simplex virus types 1 and 2 (HSV-1 and HSV-2), equid herspesvirus 1 (EHV-1), pseudorabies virus (PRV) and varicella-zoster virus (VZV). Virion DNA probes from EHV-1, PRV and VZV hybridized to similar regions of the HSV genome, and the use of cloned DNA probes allowed heterologous genomes to be oriented with respect to homologous regions. The HSV-1 and HSV-2 genomes are colinear, the EHV-1 and VZV genomes are colinear with the I or I genome arrangement of HSV, and the PRV genome is essentially colinear with the I genome arrangement of HSV except that the region 0.1 to 0.4 fractional genome units appears to be inverted. A detailed analysis of sequences in the HSV-2 and PRV genomes to which the HSV-1 major capsid protein gene hybridized was carried out in order to demonstrate the application of molecular hybridization to the location of genes in heterologous genomes. The lesion in a DNA-positive temperature-sensitive mutant of PRV was mapped within the putative PRV major capsid protein gene. We conclude that the herpesviruses we have studied possess several highly conserved genes, and propose that they are similar in genetic organization despite presumably separate evolutionary histories.


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