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

Stimulation of the herpes simplex virus type I protease by antichaeotrophic salts.

The herpes simplex virus type 1 protease is expressed as an 80,000-dalton polypeptide, encoded within the 635-amino acid open reading frame of the UL26 gene. The two known protein substrates for this enzyme are the protease itself and the capsid assembly protein ICP35 (Liu, F., and Roizman, B. (1991) J. Virol. 65, 5149-5156). In this report we describe the use of a rapid and quantitative assay for characterizing the protease. The assay uses a glutathione S-transferase fusion protein containing the COOH-terminal cleavage site of ICP35 as the substrate (GST-56). The protease consists of N0, the NH2-terminal 247 amino acid catalytic domain of the UL26 gene product, also expressed as a GST fusion protein. Upon cleavage with N0, a single 25-mer peptide is released from GST-56, which is soluble in trichloroacetic acid. Using this assay, the protease displayed a pH optimum between 7 and 9 but most importantly had an absolute requirement for high concentrations of an antichaeotrophic agent. Strong salting out salts such as Na2SO4 and KPO4 (> or = 1 M) stimulated activity, whereas NaCl and KCl had no effect. The degree of stimulation by 1.25 M Na2SO4 and KPO4 were 100-150- and 200-300-fold, respectively. Using the fluorescent probe 1-anilino-8-naphthalene sulfonate, the protease was shown to bind the dye in the presence of 1.25 M Na2SO4 or KPO4, but not at low ionic strength or in the presence of 1.25 or 2.2 M NaCl. This binding was most likely at the protease active site because a high affinity cleavage site peptide, but not a control peptide, could displace the dye. In addition to cleaving GST-56, the herpes simplex virus type I protease also cleaved the purified 56-mer peptide. Circular dichroism and NMR spectroscopy showed the peptide to be primarily random coil under physiological conditions, suggesting that antichaeotrophic agents affect the conformation of the substrate as well as the protease.[1]


  1. Stimulation of the herpes simplex virus type I protease by antichaeotrophic salts. Yamanaka, G., DiIanni, C.L., O'Boyle, D.R., Stevens, J., Weinheimer, S.P., Deckman, I.C., Matusick-Kumar, L., Colonno, R.J. J. Biol. Chem. (1995) [Pubmed]
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