Differential importance of highly conserved residues in UL24 for herpes simplex virus 1 replication in vivo and reactivation.

Abstract : The UL24 gene of herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) is widely conserved among all subfamilies of the Herpesviridae. It is one of only four HSV-1 genes for which mutations have been mapped that confer a syncytial plaque phenotype. In a mouse model of infection, UL24-deficient viruses exhibit reduced titres, particularly in neurons, and an apparent defect in reactivation from latency. There are several highly conserved residues in UL24; however, their importance in the role of UL24 in vivo is unknown. In this study, we compared virus strains with substitution mutations corresponding to the PD-(D/E)XK endonuclease motif of UL24 (vUL24-E99A/K101A) or a substitution of another highly conserved residue (vUL24-G121A). Both mutant viruses cause the formation of syncytial plaques at 39 degrees C; however, we found that the viruses differed dramatically when tested in a mouse model of infection. vUL24-E99A/K101A exhibited titres in the eye that were 10-fold lower than those of the wild-type virus KOS, and titres in trigeminal ganglia (TG) that were more than 2 log10 lower. Clinical signs were barely detectable with vUL24-E99A/K101A. Furthermore, the percentage of TG from which virus reactivated was also significantly lower for this mutant than for KOS. In contrast, vUL24-G121A behaved similarly to the wild-type virus in mice. These results are consistent with the endonuclease motif being important for the role of UL24 in vivo and also imply that the UL24 temperature-dependent syncytial plaque phenotype can be separated genetically from several in vivo phenotypes.
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Gabriel André Leiva-Torres, Pierre-Alexandre Rochette, Angela Pearson. Differential importance of highly conserved residues in UL24 for herpes simplex virus 1 replication in vivo and reactivation.. Journal of General Virology, Microbiology Society, 2010, 91 (Pt 5), pp.1109-16. ⟨10.1099/vir.0.017921-0⟩. ⟨pasteur-00819557⟩

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