Widely Used Herpes Simplex Virus 1 ICP0 Deletion Mutant Strain dl1403 and Its Derivative Viruses Do Not Express Glycoprotein C Due to a Secondary Mutation in the gC Gene
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Herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) ICP0 is a multi-functional phosphoprotein expressed with immediate early kinetics. An ICP0 deletion mutant, HSV-1 dl1403, has been widely used to study the roles of ICP0 in the HSV-1 replication cycle including gene expression, latency, entry and assembly. We show that HSV-1 dl1403 virions lack detectable levels of envelope protein gC, and that gC is not synthesized in infected cells. Sequencing of the gC gene from HSV-1 dl1403 revealed a single amino acid deletion that results in a frameshift mutation. The HSV-1 dl1403 gC gene is predicted to encode a polypeptide consisting of the original 62 N-terminal amino acids of the gC protein followed by 112 irrelevant, non-gC residues. The mutation was also present in a rescuant virus and in two dl1403-derived viruses, D8 and FXE, but absent from the parental 17+, suggesting that the mutation was introduced during the construction of the dl1403 virus, and not as a result of passage in culture.
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