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

The herpes simplex virus type 1 alpha protein ICP27 can act as a trans-repressor or a trans-activator in combination with ICP4 and ICP0.

The herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) alpha proteins ICP4, ICP0, and ICP27 are trans-acting proteins which affect HSV-1 gene expression. To investigate potential interactions between these alpha products and to determine the specificity of action of the alpha proteins in combination with each other compared with their activities individually, we performed a series of transient-expression assays. In these assays we used plasmids containing the alpha genes encoding ICP4, ICP0, and ICP27 either singly or in combination as effectors and HSV-1 genes of different kinetic classes and heterologous genes as targets. The HSV-1 targets consisted of promoter-regulatory domains from alpha (ICP0 and ICP27), beta (thymidine kinase and alkaline exonuclease), beta-gamma (glycoprotein D, glycoprotein B, and VP5), and gamma (glycoprotein C) genes, each fused to the chloramphenicol acetyltransferase (CAT) gene. The heterologous target genes consisted of the simian virus 40 early promoter with enhancer and the Rous sarcoma virus long terminal repeat promoter and enhancer each fused to the CAT gene. Target promoter activity was measured by the assay of CAT activity in extracts of transfected cells and by Northern (RNA) blot hybridization of CAT mRNA. The results of these experiments showed that ICP4 activated only HSV-1 target genes, whereas ICP0 activated all of the targets and ICP27 had little effect on any of the targets. ICP4 and ICP0 had a synergistic effect when inducing HSV-1 targets, but they did not have this effect on the heterologous targets pSV2-CAT or pRSV-CAT. In fact, lower levels of CAT activity and CAT mRNA were found in the presence of both effectors than with ICP0 alone. Most interestingly, although the effector plasmid containing the ICP27 gene had little effect on its own, two different and marked effects depending on the target were observed when ICP27 was combined with ICP4 or ICP0 or both. A trans-repression of the induction seen with ICP4 and ICP0 was found when ICP27 was present in the transfections with pSV2-CAT, pRSV-CAT, pICP0-CAT, pICP27-CAT, pTK-CAT, pgD-CAT, pgB-CAT, and pgC-CAT. This resulted in CAT activity levels which were similar to or lower than the basal level of expression of the target genes in the absence of effector plasmids. This trans-repression occurred over a wide range of concentrations of input ICP27 plasmid. In contrast to this repressive effect of ICP27, a trans-activation was seen when ICP4, ICP0, and ICP27 plasmids were combined in transfections with pAE-CAT and pVP5-CAT as targets. This trans-activation also occurred over a 10-fold range of input ICP27 plasmid. These results suggest that ICP27 can facilitate both down[1]


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