Identification and characterization of the pseudorabies virus UL3.5 protein, which is involved in virus egress

Fuchs, Walter GND; Klupp, Barbara GND; Granzow, Harald GND; Rziha, Hanns-Joachim GND; Mettenleiter, Thomas C. GND

Alphaherpesvirus genomes exhibit a generally collinear gene arrangement, and most of their genes are conserved among the different members of the subfamily. Among the exceptions is the UL3.5 gene of pseudorabies virus (PrV) for which positional homologs have been detected in the genomes of varicella-zoster virus, equine herpesvirus 1, and bovine herpesvirus 1 but not in the genomes of herpes simplex virus types 1 and 2. To identify and characterize the predicted 224 amino acid UL3.5 protein of PrV, a rabbit antiserum was prepared against a UL3.5 fusion protein expressed in Escherichia coli. In Western blot (immunoblot) analyses the antiserum detected a 30-kDa protein in the cytoplasm of PrV infected cells which was absent from purified virions. For functional analysis, UL3.5-expressing cell lines were established and virus mutants were isolated after the rescue of defective, glycoprotein B-negative PrV by insertion of the complementing glycoprotein B-encoding gene of bovine herpesvirus 1 at two sites within the UL3.5 locus. A PrV mutant carrying the insertion at codon 159 and expressing a truncated UL3.5 protein was still capable of efficient productive replication in noncomplementing cells. In contrast, a PrV mutant carrying the insertion at codon 10 of the UL3.5 gene did not express detectable UL3.5 protein and exhibited a dramatic growth deficiency on non-complementing cells with regard to plaque formation and one-step replication. Electron microscopical studies showed an accumulation of unenveloped capsids in the vicinity of the Golgi apparatus. This defect could be compensated by propagation on complementing UL3.5-expressing cell lines. Our results thus demonstrate that the PrV UL3.5 gene encodes a nonstructural protein which plays an important role in virus replication, presumably during virus egress. The functionally relevant domains appear to be located within the N-terminal part of the UL3.5 protein which also comprises the region exhibiting the highest level of homology between the predicted UL3.5 homologous proteins of other alphaherpesviruses

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Fuchs, Walter / Klupp, Barbara / Granzow, Harald / et al: Identification and characterization of the pseudorabies virus UL3.5 protein, which is involved in virus egress. 1996.

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