We prepared a murine monoclonal antibody reactive to a human cytomegalovirus (HCMV)-induced nuclear protein with an M of 68000. Expression of the 68K protein was compared with the major immediate early (IE) 72K protein in various cell types after infection with HCMV or microinjection of plasmid DNA containing the major IE gene. The 68K nuclear protein was detected 2 to 3 h after appearance of the 72K protein in human embryonal lung (HEL) cells infected with HCMV. The 68K protein was distributed throughout the cytoplasm in the late phase of infection, while the 72K protein remained chiefly in the nucleus. The 68K protein was barely detected in the cells under IE conditions by immunoprecipitation, but, together with the 72K protein, it was expressed after microinjection of cloned DNA, containing only the major IE region (region 1), into the nuclei of HEL cells. The 72K protein was expressed in nuclei 2 h after microinjection, whereas the 68K protein was detected 4 to 5 h after the injection. The 68K protein was expressed after microinjection in non-permissive rodent fibroblasts or non-permissive transformed human cells in which these proteins were not expressed after viral infection. Immunoprecipitations after chase-labelling from IE conditions or after partial digestions suggested that the 68K protein is neither a degradation nor a modification product of the major IE 72K protein.


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