Activation of the early and late genes of herpes simplex virus type 1 during infection in tissue culture requires functional immediate-early regulatory protein ICP4. ICP4 is a specific DNA-binding protein which recognizes a variety of DNA sequences, many of which contain the consensus ATCGTC. In general, mutations which impair the ability of ICP4 to bind to DNA also eliminate its ability to activate viral early and late promoters both in transfection assays and in the infected cell. However, the role of ICP4 binding sites in the viral genome is unclear; many early and late promoters do not contain consensus binding sites in their vicinity. The glycoprotein D (gD) gene contains two well-characterized ICP4 binding sites upstream of its promoter and a third downstream of the transcription start site. Multimerization of one of these sites has been shown to increase the response of the gD promoter to ICP4 in transfection assays, while their removal reduces stimulation of the gD promoter by ICP4 in vitro. To assess the role of these binding sites during virus infection, we have constructed a recombinant viral genome which has mutations affecting all three. Comparison of the amounts of gD RNA synthesized by the recombinant and wild-type viruses indicated that the mutations had little or no effect on the activity of the gD promoter. Therefore, either the sites have no essential role in gD promoter regulation in the presence of all of the herpes simplex virus type 1 IE polypeptides during a normal infection or they can be functionally substituted by other ICP4 binding sites elsewhere in the genome.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science