The herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) virion DNA contains nicks and gaps, and in this study a novel assay for estimating the size and number of gaps in virion DNA was developed. Consistent with previous reports, we estimate that there are approximately 15 gaps per genome, and we calculate the average gap length to be approximately 30 bases. Virion DNA was isolated and treated with DNA-modifying enzymes in order to fill in the gaps and modify the ends. Interestingly, filling in gaps, blunting the ends, or adding random sequences to the 3= ends of DNA, producing 3= flaps, did not impair the infectivity of treated DNA following transfection of Vero cells. On the other hand, the formation of 5= flaps in the DNA following treatment resulted in a dramatic reduction (95 to 100%) in infectivity. Virion DNA stimulated DNA-PKcs activity in transfected cells, and DNA with 5= flaps stimulated a higher level of DNA-PKcs activity than that observed in cells transfected with untreated virion DNA. The infectivity of 5=-flapped DNA was restored in cells that do not express DNA-PKcs and in cells cotransfected with the immediate early protein ICP0, which degrades DNA-PKcs. These results are consistent with previous reports that DNA-dependent protein kinase (DNAPK) and the nonhomologous end joining (NHEJ) repair pathway are intrinsically antiviral and that ICP0 can counteract this effect. We suggest that HSV-1 DNA with 5= flaps may induce an antiviral state due to the induction of a DNA damage response, primarily mediated by NHEJ, that renders the HSV-1 genome less efficient for lytic infection.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science