Accumulating evidence indicates that the product of the putative immediate-early gene ORF62 (IE62) activates varicella-zoster virus (VZV) genes thought to represent all three kinetic classes, namely, immediate- early (α), early (β), and late (γ) classes, of VZV genes as well as a variety heterologous gene promoters. However, the mechanism(s) by which IE62 protein mediates transactivation of these diverse VZV and heterologous gene promoters remains to be elucidated. In this study, by using yeast GAL4 protein chimeras, the coding regions of VZV ORF62 possessing activation domains have been assessed. We demonstrate that the VZV IE62 protein contains a potent activation domain in the N-terminal portion of the molecule, encoded within the first 86 codons of ORF62. The predicted secondary structure profile and the acid-base composition of this IE62 domain resemble those of other transregulatory proteins whose activation is mediated through acidic, hydrophobic elements. In addition, we show that deletion of this activation domain from the 1,310-residue native IE62 protein results in ablation of the transactivator function of IE62. We also present evidence that the mutant IE62 protein lacking the activation domain, though devoid of transactivation ability, was still capable of interfering with the activation of target promoters by the native, full-length IE62.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science