Evidence that the herpes simplex virus immediate early protein ICP27 acts post-transcriptionally during infection to regulate gene expression

Virology. 1992 Jan;186(1):74-86. doi: 10.1016/0042-6822(92)90062-t.


The herpes simplex virus (HSV-1) immediate early protein ICP27 is a regulatory protein which is essential for virus replication. The phenotype of temperature-sensitive and deletion mutants in ICP27 includes overexpression of some immediate early and early gene products and greatly reduced levels of late gene products. To determine whether regulation by ICP27 occurs primarily at the transcriptional level, we have studied the expression of two immediate early products (ICP4 and ICP27) and two late gene products (glycoprotein B and glycoprotein C) at the level of transcription initiation, accumulation of steady state mRNA, and protein synthesis in an ICP27 temperature-sensitive mutant tsLG4, compared to wild-type HSV-1. At the nonpermissive temperature in tsLG4-infected cells, the two immediate early gene products ICP4 and ICP27 were overexpressed both at the mRNA and protein level although synthesis of these transcripts as measured by nuclear runoff assays was reduced relative to the wild-type HSV-1 infections. The transcription of late gene products glycoprotein B (gB) and glycoprotein C (gC) was lower in runoff assays from tsLG4 infections suggesting that the reduction in the level of late products occurred at the transcriptional level. However, temperature shift experiments in which tsLG4-infected cells were shifted to the nonpermissive temperature at various times after infection showed that the synthesis of late transcripts was not altered 2 hr after the shift whereas both the accumulation of leaky late and late mRNA and the incorporation of [35S]methionine into newly synthesized gB and gC was reduced by 2 hr after the shift to nonpermissive temperature. Therefore, while the synthesis of new transcripts continued, the accumulation of late mRNAs and their translation into protein was reduced when ICP27 was defective, whereas, the converse was found for immediate early products. That is, the synthesis of new transcripts was reduced yet mRNA and protein accumulated to high levels. These results suggest that ICP27 acts at least in part post-transcriptionally to regulate the expression of immediate early and late gene products.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blotting, Northern
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Viral*
  • Genes, Viral
  • Immediate-Early Proteins*
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Mutation
  • RNA Processing, Post-Transcriptional
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Viral / genetics
  • Simplexvirus / genetics*
  • Temperature
  • Transcription, Genetic
  • Vero Cells
  • Viral Envelope Proteins / metabolism
  • Viral Proteins / genetics*
  • Viral Proteins / metabolism
  • Viral Structural Proteins / genetics


  • ICP27 protein, human herpesvirus 1
  • Immediate-Early Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • RNA, Viral
  • Viral Envelope Proteins
  • Viral Proteins
  • Viral Structural Proteins