Characterization of the trans-activation properties of equine herpesvirus 1 EICP0 protein.
The EICP0 protein of equine herpesvirus 1 (EHV-1) is an early, viral regulatory protein that independently trans-activates EHV-1 immediate-early (IE), early, gamma1 late, and gamma2 late promoters. To assess whether this powerful trans-activator functions in conjunction with three other EHV-1 regulatory proteins to activate expression of the various classes of viral promoters, transient cotransfection assays were performed in which effector plasmids expressing the EICP22, EICP27, and IE proteins were used either singly or in combination with an EICP0 effector construct. These analyses revealed that (i) independently, the EICP0 and IE proteins are powerful trans-activators but do not function synergistically, (ii) the IE protein inhibits the ability of the EICP0 protein to trans-activate the IE, gamma1 late, and gamma2 late promoters, (iii) the EICP22 and EICP0 proteins do not function together to significantly trans-activate any EHV-1 promoter, and (iv) the EICP27 and EICP0 proteins function synergistically to trans-activate the early and gamma1 late promoters. A panel of EICP0 truncation and deletion mutant plasmids was generated and used in experiments to define the domains of the 419-amino-acid (aa) EICP0 protein that are important for the trans-activation of each class of EHV-1 promoters. These studies revealed that (i) carboxy-terminal truncation mutants of the EICP0 protein exhibited a progressive loss of trans-activating ability as increasing portions of the carboxy terminus were removed, (ii) the amino terminus of the EICP0 protein containing the RING finger (aa 8 to 46) and the acidic region (aa 71 to 84) was necessary but not sufficient for activation of all classes of EHV-1 promoters, (iii) the RING finger was absolutely essential for activation of EHV-1 promoters, since deletion of the entire RING finger motif (aa 8 to 46) or a portion of it (aa 19 to 30) completely abrogated the ability of these mutants to activate any promoter tested, (iv) the acidic region contributed to the ability of the EICP0 protein to activate the early and gamma1 late promoters, and deletion of the acidic region enhanced the ability of this mutant to activate the IE promoter, (v) the carboxy terminus (aa 325 to 419), which is rich in glutamine residues, was dispensable for the EICP0 trans-activation function, (vi) a motif resembling a nuclear localization signal (aa 289 to 293) was unnecessary for the EICP0 protein to trans-activate promoters of any temporal class, and (vii) the EICP0 protein was phosphorylated during infection, and deletion of the serine-rich region (aa 210 to 217), a potential site for phosphorylation, reduced by more than 70% the ability of the EICP0 protein to activate the gamma2 late class of promoters.
Bowles, DE; Kim, SK; O'Callaghan, DJ
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