Functional domains with the a sequence involved in the cleavage-packaging of herpes simplex virus DNA

L. P. Deiss, J. Chou, N. Frenkel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Newly replicated herpes simplex virus (HSV) DNA consists of head-to-tail concatemers which are cleaved to generate unit-length genomes bounded by the terminally reiterated a sequence. Constructed defective HSV vectors (amplicons) containing a viral DNA replication origin and the a sequence are similarly replicated into large concatemers which are cleaved at a sequences punctuating the junctions between adjacent repeat units, concurrent with the packaging of viral DNA into nucleocapsids. In the present study we tested the ability of seed amplicons containing specific deletions in the a sequence to become cleaved and packaged and hence be propagated in virus stocks. These studies revealed that two separate signals, located within the Ub and Uc elements of the a sequence, were essential for amplicon propagation. No derivative defective genomes were recovered from seed constructs which lacked the Uc signal. In contrast, propagation of seed constructs lacking the Ub signal resulted in the selection of defective genomes with novel junctions, containing specific insertions of a sequences derived from the helper virus DNA. Comparison of published sequences of concatemeric junctions of several herpesviruses supported a uniform mechanism for the cleavage-packaging process, involving the measurement from two highly conserved blocks of sequences of sequences (pac-1 and pac-2) which were homologous to the required Uc and Ub sequences. These results form the basis for general models for the mechanism of cleavage-packaging of herpesvirus DNA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)605-618
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Virology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1986
Externally publishedYes


FundersFunder number
National Cancer InstituteP01CA019264
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious DiseasesR01AI015488


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