Visualization of DNA G-quadruplexes in herpes simplex virus 1-infected cells

Nucleic Acids Res. 2016 Dec 1;44(21):10343-10353. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkw968. Epub 2016 Oct 27.


We have previously shown that clusters of guanine quadruplex (G4) structures can form in the human herpes simplex-1 (HSV-1) genome. Here we used immunofluorescence and immune-electron microscopy with a G4-specific monoclonal antibody to visualize G4 structures in HSV-1 infected cells. We found that G4 formation and localization within the cells was virus cycle dependent: viral G4s peaked at the time of viral DNA replication in the cell nucleus, moved to the nuclear membrane at the time of virus nuclear egress and were later found in HSV-1 immature virions released from the cell nucleus. Colocalization of G4s with ICP8, a viral DNA processing protein, was observed in viral replication compartments. G4s were lost upon treatment with DNAse and inhibitors of HSV-1 DNA replication. The notable increase in G4s upon HSV-1 infection suggests a key role of these structures in the HSV-1 biology and indicates new targets to control both the lytic and latent infection.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Cell Line
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Chlorocebus aethiops
  • DNA Replication
  • DNA, Viral / chemistry*
  • DNA, Viral / ultrastructure
  • G-Quadruplexes*
  • Herpes Simplex / virology
  • Herpesvirus 1, Human / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • Microscopy, Immunoelectron / methods
  • Molecular Imaging* / methods
  • Vero Cells
  • Virus Replication


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • DNA, Viral