- A glutathione S-transferase fusion to the COOH-terminal acidic transactivation domain of Vmw65 from herpes simplex virus type 1 was overexpressed in Escherichia coli and isolated by affinity chromatography on glutathione-Sepharose. Following cleavage of the fusion protein with thrombin, the transactivation domain was purified to homogeneity by ion exchange chromatography yielding approximately 0.6 mg of protein/liter of bacterial culture. Equilibrium sedimentation analysis showed the purified polypeptide to be monomeric; however, it displayed aberrant electrophoretic and chromatographic properties. Contrary to secondary structure predictions, circular dichroism spectroscopy demonstrated that this transactivation domain was devoid of significant alpha-helical structure at physiological conditions. The polypeptide, however, became notably more structured under hydrophobic conditions or at low pH, suggesting that it was sensitive to its environment. Near-UV circular dichroism suggested that phenylalanyl and tyrosyl residues were under influence from tertiary structure.