Consensus cis-acting DNA sequences upstream of the immediate early (IE) gene of equid herpesvirus type 1 (EHV-1, strain Ab4) were identified. One copy of the conserved motif TAATGARATTC, which is the binding site for the host cellular factor Oct-1 and herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) virion protein, VmW65, complex, was identified at positions -630 to -620. Using transient transfections and chloramphenicol acetyltransferase assays the IE promoter of EHV-1 was shown to be trans-activated by VmW65 within the region -685 to +73. Ultraviolet light-inactivated EHV-1 was able to stimulate the expression of the IE gene of EHV-1 as well as HSV-1, indicating that EHV-1 possesses a protein equivalent to VmW65. The ubiquitous equid herpesvirus type 2 (EHV-2), which is not known to be a primary pathogen, was also able to trans-activate the EHV-1 and HSV-1 IE genes. Further work is being performed in order to identify the nature of the EHV-1 and EHV-2 trans-activating proteins.


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