Herpes simplex virus (HSV) dramatically reorganizes the infected-cell nucleus, leading to the formation of prereplicative sites and replication compartments. This process is driven by the essential viral single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) binding protein ICP8, which can form double-helical filaments in the absence of DNA. In this paper, we show that two conserved motifs, FNF (F1142, N1143, and F1144) and FW (F843 and W844), are essential for ICP8 self-interactions, and we propose that the FNF motif docks into the FW region during filament formation. Mammalian expression plasmids bearing mutations in these motifs (FNF and FW) were unable to complement an ICP8-null mutant for growth and replication compartment formation. Furthermore, FNF and FW mutants were able to inhibit wild-type (WT) virus plaque formation and filament formation, whereas a double mutant (FNF-FW) was not. These results suggest that single mutant proteins are incorporated into nonproductive ICP8 filaments, while the double mutant is unable to interact with WT ICP8 and does not interfere with WT growth. Cells transfected with WT ICP8 and the helicase-primase (H/P) complex exhibited punctate nuclear structures that resemble prereplicative sites; however, the FNF and FW mutants failed to do so. Taken together, these results suggest that the FNF and FW motifs are required for ICP8 self-interactions and that these interactions may be important for the formation of prereplicative sites and replication compartments. We propose that filaments or other higher-order structures of ICP8 may provide a scaffold onto which other proteins can be recruited to form prereplicative sites and replication compartments.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science