Mutation of single hydrophobic residue I27, L35, F39, L58, L65, L67, or L71 in the N terminus of VP5 abolishes interaction with the scaffold protein and prevents closure of herpes simplex virus type 1 capsid shells

Jewell N. Walters, Gerry L. Sexton, J. Michael McCaffery, Prashant Desai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Protein-protein interactions drive the assembly of the herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) capsid. A key interaction occurs between the C-terminal tail of the scaffold protein (pre-22a) and the major capsid protein (VP5). Previously (Z. Hong, M. Beaudet-Miller, J. Durkin, R. Zhang, and A. D. Kwong, J. Virol. 70:533-540, 1996) it was shown that the minimal domain in the scaffold protein necessary for this interaction was composed of a hydrophobic amphipathic helix. The goal of this study was to identify the hydrophobic residues in VP5 important for this bimolecular interaction. Results from the genetic analysis of second-site revertant virus mutants identified the importance of the N terminus of VP5 for the interaction with the scaffold protein. This allowed us to focus our efforts on a small region of this large polypeptide. Twenty-four hydrophobic residues, starting at L23 and ending at F84, were mutated to alanine. All the mutants were first screened for interaction with pre-22a in the yeast two-hybrid assay. From this in vitro assay, seven residues, I27, L35, F39, L58, L65, L67, and L71, that eliminated the interaction when mutated were identified. All 24 mutants were introduced into the virus genome with a genetic marker rescue/marker transfer system. For this system, viruses and cell lines that greatly facilitated the introduction of the mutants into the genome were made. The same seven mutants that abolished interaction of VP5 with pre-22a resulted in an absolute requirement for wild-type VP5 for growth of the viruses. The viruses encoding these mutations in VP5 were capable of forming capsid shells comprised of VP5, VP19C, VP23, and VP26, but the closure of these shells into an icosahedral structure was prevented. Mutation at L75 did not affect the ability of this protein to interact with pre-22a, as judged from the in vitro assay, but this mutation specified a lethal effect for virus growth and abolished the formation of any detectable assembled structure. Thus, it appears that the L75 residue is important for another essential interaction of VP5 with the capsid shell proteins. The congruence of the data from the previous and present studies demonstrates the key roles of two regions in the N terminus of this large protein that are crucial for this bimolecular interaction. Thus, residues I27, L35, and F39 comprise the first subdomain and residues L58, L65, L67 and L71 comprise a second subdomain of VP5. These seven hydrophobic residues are important for the interaction of VP5 with the scaffold protein and consequently the formation of an icosahedral shell structure that encloses the viral genome.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4043-4059
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of virology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Apr 1 2003


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Insect Science
  • Virology

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