Intranuclear localization of herpes simplex virus immediate-early and delayed-early proteins: evidence that ICP 4 is associated with progeny virus DNA

J Gen Virol. 1986 Oct;67 ( Pt 10):2163-77. doi: 10.1099/0022-1317-67-10-2163.


The localization of ICP 4, ICP 8, DNA polymerase and alkaline exonuclease within herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV)-infected cells has been examined by immunofluorescence using specific antibodies to these proteins. Cells were simultaneously counterstained with the DNA-binding fluorochrome 4,6-diamidino-2-phenylindole (DAPI) to reveal the intranuclear distribution of DNA. These studies showed that in the absence of virus DNA replication ICP 4, ICP 8 and DNA polymerase were diffusely distributed throughout the nucleus but during virus DNA replication these proteins accumulated at specific foci within the nucleus. Initially these foci were near the nuclear membrane but with continuing virus DNA replication they increased in size until the whole of the nucleus became affected. The increase in size of these foci was coincident with a redistribution of nuclear DNA and margination of chromatin at the nuclear membrane, as revealed by DAPI staining. The number of foci initially present in an infected cell was dependent on the multiplicity of infection. The distribution of ICP 4, ICP 8 and DNA polymerase within the nucleus was altered by treating the cells with DNase. The majority of alkaline exonuclease was diffusely distributed throughout the nucleus during virus DNA replication and did not localize at specific foci within the nucleus. Autoradiographic examination of the incorporation of [3H]thymidine in cells infected with HSV showed that viral DNA replication occurred in restricted areas within the nucleus that were similar, in terms of number, location and size, to the foci where ICP 4, ICP 8 and DNA polymerase accumulated. Furthermore, in cells blocked in mitosis following infection with HSV, ICP 4, ICP 8 and DNA polymerase, but not alkaline exonuclease, localized in areas outside the condensed chromatin structures. DAPI staining revealed the presence of DNA in these areas and, as such structures were never seen when uninfected cells had entered mitosis, it is suggested that this extrachromosomal DNA is of viral origin. These studies therefore suggest that ICP 4 is associated with progeny virus DNA and that while its intranuclear localization is initially at non-viral sites, as DNA replication proceeds so ICP 4 is recruited into areas of virus DNA transcription and replication.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Nucleus / analysis
  • Cell Nucleus / enzymology
  • Cell Nucleus / microbiology*
  • Cytoplasm / analysis
  • DNA Replication
  • DNA, Viral / analysis*
  • DNA, Viral / biosynthesis
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • DNA-Directed DNA Polymerase / analysis*
  • Exonucleases / analysis
  • Immediate-Early Proteins*
  • Mitosis
  • Mutation
  • Simplexvirus / genetics
  • Simplexvirus / physiology*
  • Temperature
  • Viral Proteins / analysis*
  • Virus Replication


  • DNA, Viral
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • ICP8 protein, Simplexvirus
  • Immediate-Early Proteins
  • Viral Proteins
  • herpes simplex virus, type 1 protein ICP4
  • DNA-Directed DNA Polymerase
  • Exonucleases