Herpes simplex virus gene expression in transformed cells. I. Regulation of the viral thymidine kinase gene in transformed L cells by products of superinfecting virus

J Virol. 1976 Nov;20(2):413-24. doi: 10.1128/JVI.20.2.413-424.1976.


In this paper we show that the expression of the herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) gene for thymidine kinase (tk) in HSV-transformed cells is subject to regulation by two viral products synthesized during productive infection of these cells with a tk- mutant of HSV-1. The cell line used in this study is a derivative of tk-deficient mouse L cells that, after exposure to UV-inactivated HSV-1, had acquired the HSV-1 gene for tk (which we term a resident viral gene) and consequently expressed the tk+ phenotype (LVtk+ cells). Productive infection of these cells with HSV-1(tk-) at appropriate multiplicities caused significant enhancement of the viral tk activity. The results of several experiments allow us to conclude that this enhancement was due to increased synthesis of tk specified by the HSV-1 gene resident in the LVtk+ cells and that a specific protein made early after infection with HSV-1(tk-) mediated the enhancement, probably by increasing the production of mRNA from the viral tk gene resident in the LVtk+ cells. Our data also indicate that another HSV-1(tk-) product acted to turn off tk synthesis. The finding that tk activity continued to increase for a longer time after infection of the LVtk+ cells at 2 PFU/cell than after infection at higher multiplicities suggested the synthesis of a product which inhibited tk synthesis and whose concentration reached critical levels earlier at higher multiplicities of infection. Inhibition of DNA synthesis after infection, a treatment that depresses the synthesis of late viral proteins, prolonged the synthesis of tk in LVtk+ cells infected at either 2 or 5 PFU/cell. Infection of the LVtk+ cells with HSV-2(tk-) resulted in only small increases in tk activity, indicating some type specificity in recognition of viral products that can modify the expression of the HSV-1 tk gene resident in these cells.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic*
  • Cycloheximide / pharmacology
  • Cytarabine / pharmacology
  • DNA, Viral / biosynthesis
  • Dactinomycin / pharmacology
  • Genes*
  • L Cells
  • Mutation
  • Peptide Biosynthesis
  • Puromycin / pharmacology
  • RNA, Messenger / biosynthesis
  • RNA, Viral / biosynthesis
  • Simplexvirus / growth & development
  • Simplexvirus / metabolism*
  • Thymidine Kinase / biosynthesis*
  • Viral Proteins / biosynthesis*
  • Virus Replication


  • DNA, Viral
  • RNA, Messenger
  • RNA, Viral
  • Viral Proteins
  • Cytarabine
  • Dactinomycin
  • Puromycin
  • Cycloheximide
  • Thymidine Kinase