Comparison of exonucleolytic activities of herpes simplex virus type-1 DNA polymerase and DNase

Eur J Biochem. 1990 Jul 31;191(2):263-73. doi: 10.1111/j.1432-1033.1990.tb19119.x.


The exonucleolytic activities associated with herpes simplex virus type-1 (HSV-1) DNA polymerase and DNase were compared. The unique properties of these nucleases were assessed by applying biochemical and immunological methods as well as by genetics. In contrast to the viral DNA polymerase, HSV DNase is equipped with a 5'-3'-exonuclease activity. Under reaction conditions optimal for HSV DNA polymerase, i.e. at high ionic strength, HSV DNase exhibited only limited endonucleolytic activity and degraded double-stranded DNA in a very processive manner and exclusively in the 5'-3' direction, producing predominantly mononucleotides. Both viral enzymes displayed significant RNase activity which could be correlated with the endogenous endonucleolytic and 5'-3'-exonucleolytic activities of the DNase and the polymerase-associated 3'-5' exonuclease. The tight linkage of polymerizing and exonucleolytic functions of the viral DNA polymerase was demonstrated by their identical response to (a) thermal inactivation, (b) drug inhibition and (c) neutralization by polyclonal antibodies reacting specifically with the N-terminal, central and C-terminal polypeptide domains of HSV-1 DNA polymerase. From the data presented it can be concluded that the cryptic 3'-5' exonuclease is the only exonucleolytic activity associated with the viral DNA polymerase.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line
  • Chromatography, Thin Layer
  • DNA-Directed DNA Polymerase / analysis*
  • DNA-Directed DNA Polymerase / genetics
  • DNA-Directed DNA Polymerase / isolation & purification
  • Deoxyguanine Nucleotides / pharmacology
  • Deoxyribonucleases / analysis*
  • Deoxyribonucleases / genetics
  • Deoxyribonucleases / isolation & purification
  • Dideoxynucleotides
  • Enzyme Stability
  • Exonucleases / analysis*
  • Hot Temperature
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Neutralization Tests
  • Phosphonoacetic Acid / pharmacology
  • Ribonucleases / analysis
  • Simplexvirus / enzymology*


  • Deoxyguanine Nucleotides
  • Dideoxynucleotides
  • 2',3'-dideoxyguanosine 5'-triphosphate
  • DNA-Directed DNA Polymerase
  • Deoxyribonucleases
  • Exonucleases
  • Ribonucleases
  • Phosphonoacetic Acid