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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Altering the expression kinetics of VP5 results in altered virulence and pathogenesis of herpes simplex virus type 1 in mice.

While many herpes simplex virus (HSV) structural proteins are expressed with strict-late kinetics, the HSV virion protein 5 (VP5) is expressed as a "leaky-late" protein, such that appreciable amounts of VP5 are made prior to DNA replication. Our goal has been to determine if leaky-late expression of VP5 is a requirement for a normal HSV infection. It had been shown previously that recombinant viruses in which the VP5 promoter was replaced with promoters of other kinetic classes (including a strict late promoter) exhibited no alterations in replication kinetics or virus yields in vitro. In contrast, here we report that alterations in pathogenesis were observed when these recombinants were analyzed by experimental infection of mice. Following intracranial inoculation, a recombinant expressing VP5 from a strict-late promoter (U(L)38) exhibited an increased 50% lethal dose and a 10-fold decrease in virus yields in the central nervous system, while a recombinant expressing VP5 from an early (dUTPase) or another leaky-late (VP16) promoter exhibited wild-type neurovirulence. Moreover, following infection of the footpad, changing the expression kinetics of VP5 from leaky-late to strict-late resulted in 100-fold-less virus in the spinal ganglia during the acute infection than produced by either the parent virus or the rescued virus. These data indicate that the precise timing of appearance of the major capsid protein plays a role in the pathogenesis of HSV infections and that changing the expression kinetics has different effects in different cell types and tissues.[1]


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