Processing of α-globin and ICP0 mRNA in cells infected with herpes simplex virus type 1 ICP27 mutants

K. S. Ellison, S. A. Rice, R. Verity, J. R. Smiley

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28 Scopus citations


Herpes simplex virus (HSV) ICP27 is an essential and multifunctional regulator of viral gene expression that modulates RNA splicing, polyadenylation, and nuclear export. We have previously reported that ICP27 causes the cytoplasmic accumulation of unspliced α-globin pre-mRNA. Here we examined the effects of a series of ICP27 mutations that alter important functional regions of the protein on the processing and nuclear transport of α-globin and HSV ICP0 RNA. The results demonstrate that ICP27 mutants that are impaired for growth in noncomplementing cells, including mutants in the N- and C-terminal regions, are defective in the accumulation of α-globin pre-mRNA. Unexpectedly, several mutants that are competent to repress the expression of reporter genes in transient transfection assays failed to accumulate unspliced RNA, implying that different mechanisms are responsible for transrepression and pre-mRNA accumulation. Several mutants caused a marked increase in the length and heterogeneity of the α-globin mRNA poly(A) tail, suggesting that ICP27 may directly or indirectly affect the regulation of poly(A) polymerase. ICP27 was also required for the accumulation of multiple ICP0 intron-bearing transcripts, but this effect displayed a mutational sensitivity profile different from that of accumulation of unspliced α-globin RNA. Moreover, unlike spliced and unspliced α-globin RNAs, which were efficiently exported to the cytoplasm, spliced and intron-containing ICP0 transcripts were predominantly nuclear in localization, and ICP27 was not required for nuclear retention of the spliced message. We propose that these transcript- and ICP27 allele-specific differences may be explained by the presence of a strong cis-acting ICP27 response element in the α-globin transcript.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7307-7319
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of virology
Issue number16
StatePublished - 2000

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