The ICP0 protein of equine herpesvirus 1 is an early protein that independently transactivates expression of all classes of viral promoters.
To assess the role of the equine herpesvirus type 1 (EHV-1) ICP0 protein (EICP0) in gene regulation, a variety of molecular studies on the EICP0 gene and gene products of both the attenuated cell culture-adapted Kentucky A (KyA) strain and the Ab4p strain were conducted. These investigations revealed that (i) the ICP0 open reading frame (ORF) of the KyA virus strain is 1,257 bp in size and would encode a protein of 419 amino acids, and in comparison to the ICP0 gene (ORF63) of the Ab4p strain of 1,596 bp (E. A. Telford, M. S. Watson, K. McBride, and A. J. Davison, Virology 189:304-316, 1992), it has an internal in-frame deletion of 339 bp; (ii) one early transcript of 1.4 kb predicted to encode the EICP0 protein and a late transcript of 1.8 kb are detected in Northern blot analyses using probes containing the EICP0 ORF; (iii) the KyA EICP0 protein (50 kDa) and the Ab4p EICP0 protein (80 kDa) are expressed as several species of early proteins that are first detected at 3 to 4 h postinfection by Western blot analyses of infected-cell polypeptides, using an antiserum generated to a TrpE fusion protein that harbors amino acids 46 to 153 of the EICP0 protein; and (iv) the EICP0 protein of both EHV-1 strains is a potent transactivator of EHV-1 genes. Transient expression assays using a simian virus 40 expression construct of the EICP0 protein of the KyA strain showed that the EICP0 protein independently transactivated chloramphenicol acetyltransferase reporter constructs under the control of the immediate-early promoter (3.9-fold), the early thymidine kinase promoter (95-fold), the late (gamma1) IR5 promoter (85-fold), and the late (gamma2) glycoprotein K promoter (21-fold). The finding that the EICP0 protein of the KyA virus can function as an activator of gene expression indicates that amino acids corresponding to residues 319 to 431 of the Ab4p EICP0 protein are not essential for EICP0 transactivation of EHV-1 promoters.
Bowles, DE; Holden, VR; Zhao, Y; O'Callaghan, DJ
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