The herpes simplex virus type 1 temperature-sensitive (ts) DNA-positive mutant 1203 has been characterized. The ts lesion in 1203 was located by marker rescue within the coding region of gene UL28. Nuclei of cells infected with 1203 at the non-permissive temperature (NPT) contained large numbers of capsids with a uniform morphology. These capsids lacked DNA but had a defined internal structure. No full capsids were detected at the NPT, suggesting that 1203 was unable to package viral DNA. In this respect 1203 is similar to 1201 which has a defect in gene UL26. The capsids made by 1203 at the NPT, however, contained a more compact internal structure than those of 1201. In addition, 1203 capsids were dispersed throughout the nucleus whereas 1201 capsids were frequently found clustered together in large arrays. Southern blot and sedimentation analyses of viral DNA confirmed that 1203 had an encapsidation defect and showed that most of the mutant DNA at the NPT was of a high . The effect of the 1203 mutation could not be reversed in the absence of protein synthesis by transferring mutant-infected cells from the NPT to the permissive temperature.


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