African swine fever virus (ASFV) is the etiological agent of a contagious and often lethal disease of domestic pigs that has significant economic consequences for the swine industry. The viral genome encodes for more than 150 genes, and only a select few of these genes have been studied in some detail. Here we report the characterization of open reading frame Ep152R that has a predicted complement control module/SCR domain. This domain is found in Vaccinia virus proteins that are involved in blocking the immune response during viral infection. A recombinant ASFV harboring a HA tagged version of the Ep152R protein was developed (ASFV-G-Ep152R-HA) and used to demonstrate that Ep152R is an early virus protein. Attempts to construct recombinant viruses having a deleted Ep152R gene were consistently unsuccessful indicating that Ep152R is an essential gene. Interestingly, analysis of host-protein interactions for Ep152R using a yeast two-hybrid screen, identified BAG6, a protein previously identified as being required for ASFV replication. Furthermore, fluorescent microscopy analysis confirms that Ep152R-BAG6 interaction actually occurs in cells infected with ASFV.
- African swine fever virus
- Viral-host interactions