The octamer-binding protein Oct-2 represses HSV immediate-early genes in cell lines derived from latently infectable sensory neurons

Neuron. 1991 Sep;7(3):381-90. doi: 10.1016/0896-6273(91)90290-g.


Transcription of herpes simplex virus (HSV) immediate-early (IE) genes does not occur in sensory neurons latently infected with the virus or following infection of neuronal cell lines. In neuronal cell lines this inability results from the weak activity of the viral IE promoters, which is caused by a neuron-specific repressor factor that binds specifically to the TAATGARAT motif in these promoters and to related octamer elements. Cells expressing this repressor contain an additional octamer-binding protein that is absent from permissive cells. We identify this factor as the lymphocyte- and neuron-specific octamer-binding protein Oct-2 and show that Oct-2 mRNA is also present in dorsal root ganglion neurons, the natural site of HSV latency in vivo. Moreover, artificially elevated expression of Oct-2 can repress the IE promoter. The potential role of Oct-2 in the initiation and maintenance of in vivo latent infection with HSV is discussed.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Cell Line
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / physiology*
  • Ganglia, Spinal / physiology
  • Gene Expression
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Viral
  • Herpes Simplex / genetics*
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / physiology
  • Neurons / microbiology*
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Octamer Transcription Factor-2
  • Oligonucleotide Probes
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Rats
  • Regulatory Sequences, Nucleic Acid
  • Repressor Proteins / physiology*
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Simplexvirus / genetics*
  • Transcription Factors*


  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Octamer Transcription Factor-2
  • Oligonucleotide Probes
  • Pou2f2 protein, rat
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Repressor Proteins
  • Transcription Factors