Structural organization of human herpesvirus DNA molecules

G. S. Hayward, R. Ambinder, D. Ciufo, S Diane Hayward, R. L. LaFemina

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The herpesviruses are among the largest and most complex of all DNA viruses, and their genomes display an astonishing diversity in size, structure, and organization. In 1974, the features of large inverted repeats and structural isomerization were first discovered, and these proved to be characteristic properties of many herpesvirus genomes. Since then, research using the powerful techniques of modern molecular biology has revealed a great deal of comparative structural information about the arrangement of repetitive sequences and the location, structure, and primary nucleotide sequences of the genes for several easily assayed or abundantly expressed gene products. Extensive restriction enzyme cleavage maps and complete sets of cloned DNA fragments have been constructed for each of the five human herpesviruses, HSV-1, HSV-2, CMV, EBV, and VZV, and the entire 175,000-bp nucleotide sequence of EBV DNA has been determined. Based on these maps and reagents, the procedures of 'DNA fingerprinting' and 'dot hybridization' are proving useful at a clinical level for characterization of isolates and studying herpesvirus epidemiology. Strain differences, localized heterogeneity, tandem-repeat-defective genomes, and sites of cell-virus DNA homology have been described in some detail. The attention of basic researchers is now turning to equating structure with function, and rapid progress is expected in studies aimed at a better understanding of the mechanisms of viral DNA replication, maintenance of the latent state, reactivation, transformation, packaging, and regulation of the lytic cycle, etc using cloned functionally active DNA fragments, isolated intact genes and promoters, and DNA transfection and in vitro expression systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S29-S41
JournalJournal of Investigative Dermatology
Issue number1 SUPPL.
StatePublished - 1984

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Dermatology
  • Cell Biology


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