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Role of Vesicle-Associated Membrane Protein-Associated Proteins (VAP) A and VAPB in Nuclear Egress of the Alphaherpesvirus Pseudorabies Virus

The molecular mechanism affecting translocation of newly synthesized herpesvirus nucleocapsids from the nucleus into the cytoplasm is still not fully understood. The viral nuclear egress complex (NEC) mediates budding at and scission from the inner nuclear membrane, but the NEC is not sufficient for efficient fusion of the primary virion envelope with the outer nuclear membrane. Since no other viral protein was found to be essential for this process, it was suggested that a cellular machinery is recruited by viral proteins. However, knowledge on fusion mechanisms involving the nuclear membranes is rare. Recently, vesicle-associated membrane protein-associated protein B (VAPB) was shown to play a role in nuclear egress of herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1). To test this for the related alphaherpesvirus pseudorabies virus (PrV), we mutated genes encoding VAPB and VAPA by CRISPR/Cas9-based genome editing in our standard rabbit kidney cells (RK13), either individually or in combination. Single as well as double knockout cells were tested for virus propagation and for defects in nuclear egress. However, no deficiency in virus replication nor any effect on nuclear egress was obvious suggesting that VAPB and VAPA do not play a significant role in this process during PrV infection in RK13 cells.

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