During herpes simplex virus (HSV) assembly, immature procapsids must expel their internal scaffold proteins, transform their outer shell to form mature polyhedrons, and become packaged with the viral double-stranded (ds) DNA genome. A large number of virally encoded proteins are required for successful completion of these events, but their molecular roles are poorly understood. By analogy with the dsDNA bacteriophage we reasoned that HSV DNA packaging might be an ATP-requiring process and tested this hypothesis by adding an ATP depletion cocktail to cells accumulating unpackaged procapsids due to the presence of a temperature-sensitive lesion in the HSV maturational protease UL26. Following return to permissive temperature, HSV capsids were found to be unable to package DNA, suggesting that this process is indeed ATP dependent. Surprisingly, however, the display of epitopes indicative of capsid maturation was also inhibited. We conclude that either formation of these epitopes directly requires ATP or capsid maturation is normally arrested by a proofreading mechanism until DNA packaging has been successfully completed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science