Human herpesvirus 8 (HHV-8) sensitivity to the nucleoside analog ganciclovir (GCV) suggests the presence of a virally encoded kinase that catalyzes the initial phosphorylation of GCV. Analysis of the HHV-4 genome identified two candidate kinases: proteins encoded by open reading frame (ORF) 21, with homology to the herpesvirus thymidine kinases (TK), and ORF 36, with homolog to the herpesvirus phoshotransferase (PT). Experimental presented here show that both ORF 21 and ORF 36 encode GCV kinase activities as demonstrated by GCV phosphorylation and GCV-mediated cell death. In both regards the PT homologue ORF 36 was more active than the TK homologue ORF 21. ORF 21, but not ORF 36, weakly sensitized cells to killing by penciclovir. Neither ORF sensitized cells to killing by (E)-5-(bromovinyl)-2'- deoxyuridine.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science