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Inversion and circularization of the varicella-zoster virus genome.

  • P R Kinchington
  • W C Reinhold
  • T A Casey
  • S E Straus
  • J Hay
  • W T Ruyechan
Publication Date
Oct 01, 1985


The genome of varicella-zoster virus (VZV) is a linear, double-stranded molecule of DNA composed of a long (L) region covalently linked to a short (S) region. The S region is capable of inverting relative to a fixed orientation of the L region, giving rise to two equimolar populations. We have investigated other forms of the VZV genome which are present in infected cells and packaged into nucleocapsids. That a small proportion of nucleocapsid DNA molecules also possess inverted L regions has been verified by the identification of submolar restriction fragments corresponding to novel joints and novel ends generated by such an inversion. The presence of circular molecules has been investigated by agarose gel electrophoresis. Bands corresponding to circular forms were present in small amounts in both VZV-infected cell DNA and nucleocapsid DNA. Southern blot analysis verified that these bands contained VZV sequences. We therefore conclude that the VZV genome may occasionally contain an inverted L region or exist in a circular configuration.

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