Structure and role of the herpes simplex virus DNA termini in inversion, circularization and generation of virion DNA

Cell. 1982 Nov;31(1):89-97. doi: 10.1016/0092-8674(82)90408-1.


The herpes simplex virus genome consists of two components, L and S, which invert relative to each other during viral replication. The a sequence is present at the genomic termini in direct orientation and at the L-S junction in inverted orientation. Previously, we showed that insertion of a fragment spanning the L-S junction into the viral genome causes additional inversions. In this study, we determine the nucleotide sequence of the genomic termini and show that insertion of either the free S terminus or the L terminus causes inversions in the viral genome. We conclude that the a sequence is the inversion-specific sequence, that linear unit-length molecules packaged in virions are generated by cleavage between adjacent copies of the a sequence, that cleavage produces 3' single-base extensions on the genomic termini and that the signal for cleavage is contained within the a sequence.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Cell Line
  • Chlorocebus aethiops
  • Chromosome Inversion*
  • DNA Restriction Enzymes
  • DNA Transposable Elements
  • DNA, Circular / genetics*
  • DNA, Recombinant / metabolism
  • DNA, Viral / genetics*
  • Genes, Viral*
  • Kidney
  • Simplexvirus / genetics*


  • DNA Transposable Elements
  • DNA, Circular
  • DNA, Recombinant
  • DNA, Viral
  • DNA Restriction Enzymes

Associated data

  • GENBANK/J02222
  • GENBANK/J02223