1887

Abstract

Gene UL9 of herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) encodes a sequence-specific origin-binding protein (OBP) that plays a direct and essential role in viral DNA synthesis. A search of the complete HSV-1 genomic sequence for possible OBP binding sites lying outside the known origins of replication revealed the presence of a very close match to the OBP recognition sequence within the UL9 coding region. The ability of OBP to bind to this site (referred to as the ‘UL9 box’) was confirmed by DNase I footprinting and gel retardation assays, and filter binding experiments demonstrated that the affinity of OBP for the UL9 box was of the same order as for its high affinity sites within the three replication origins. To investigate whether binding of OBP to the UL9 box played a role during viral replication we constructed a mutant virus in which the sequence was altered in such a way as to preserve the encoded amino acid sequence whilst abolishing the ability of OBP to bind. Growth of the virus was indistinguishable from wild-type and no alterations were observed in the accumulation of transcripts from the UL9 region of the genome. In addition, a DNA fragment containing the UL9 box sequence did not exhibit origin activity in a transient assay for viral DNA synthesis. We therefore conclude that binding of OBP to the UL9 box is not essential for virus growth and that expression of the UL9 gene is unlikely to be autoregulated through this site.

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1996-05-01
2022-01-21
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