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Regions of the Herpes Simplex Virus Scaffolding Protein That Are Important for Intermolecular Self-Interaction

  • Valerie G. Preston
  • Iris M. McDougall
American Society for Microbiology
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2002
  • Biology


The herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) scaffolding protein encoded by gene UL26.5 promotes the formation of the icosahedral capsid shell through its association with the major capsid protein VP5 and through intermolecular interactions with itself. Inside the capsid shell, the UL26.5 product together with the maturational protease, a minor protein, form a spherical structure which is broken down and released from the capsid during packaging of the viral genome. Selected residues from four internal regions of the HSV-1 scaffolding protein that have significant conservation of amino acids within the scaffolding proteins of alphaherpesviruses were mutated, and the properties of the proteins were examined. Only the HSV-1 scaffolding protein with mutations in the conserved N-terminal domain showed reduced interaction with the varicella-zoster virus homologue in a cell-based immunofluorescence assay, providing the first evidence that this domain in the HSV-1 protein is likely to be involved in intermolecular self-interaction. Scaffolding protein with mutations in this domain or in either of two other domains failed to assemble into scaffold-like particles but retained the ability to self-interact, although the aggregates were significant smaller than most of the aggregates formed by the wild-type protein. These results suggest that there are multiple domains involved in the intermolecular self-association of the HSV-1 scaffolding protein that can act independently of one another. This conclusion was supported by the observation that none of the mutant proteins with lesions in an individual domain, including a protein with mutations in a central region previously implicated in self-interaction (A. Pelletier, F. Dô, J. J. Brisebois, L. Lagacé, and M. G. Cordingley, J. Virol. 71:5197–5208, 1997), interfered with capsid assembly in a baculovirus expression system. A protein mutated in the central region and another conserved domain, both of which had been predicted to form coiled coils, was impaired for capsid formation but still retained the capacity to interact with VP5.

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