Regulation of Alphaherpesvirus Infections by the ICP0 Family of Proteins

J Gen Virol. 2013 Mar;94(Pt 3):465-481. doi: 10.1099/vir.0.048900-0. Epub 2012 Dec 12.


Immediate-early protein ICP0 of herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) is important for the regulation of lytic and latent viral infection. Like the related proteins expressed by other alphaherpesviruses, ICP0 has a zinc-stabilized RING finger domain that confers E3 ubiquitin ligase activity. This domain is essential for the core functions of ICP0 and its activity leads to the degradation of a number of cellular proteins, some of which are involved in cellular defences that restrict viral infection. The article reviews recent advances in ICP0-related research, with an emphasis on the mechanisms by which ICP0 and related proteins counteract antiviral restriction and the roles in this process of cellular nuclear substructures known as ND10 or PML nuclear bodies. We also summarize recent advances in the understanding of the biochemical aspects of ICP0 activity. These studies highlight the importance of the SUMO conjugation pathway in both intrinsic resistance to HSV-1 infection and in substrate targeting by ICP0. The topics discussed in this review are relevant not only to HSV-1 infection, but also to cellular intrinsic resistance against herpesviruses more generally and the mechanisms by which viruses can evade this restriction.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Viral / physiology*
  • Herpesvirus 1, Human / genetics
  • Herpesvirus 1, Human / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Immediate-Early Proteins / genetics
  • Immediate-Early Proteins / metabolism*
  • Viral Proteins / genetics
  • Viral Proteins / metabolism*


  • Immediate-Early Proteins
  • Viral Proteins