Interaction of herpes simplex virus type 1 DNA polymerase and the UL42 accessory protein with a model primer template.

Abstract:

Genetic and biochemical studies have shown that the products of the herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) DNA polymerase (UL30) and UL42 genes are both required for viral DNA replication. A number of studies have previously suggested that these two proteins specifically interact, and more recent studies have confirmed that the viral DNA polymerase from HSV-1-infected cells consists of a heterodimer of the UL30 (Pol; the catalytic subunit) and UL42 polypeptides. A comparison of the catalytic properties of the Pol-UL42 complex with those of the isolated subunits of the enzyme purified from recombinant baculovirus-infected insect cells indicated that the Pol-UL42 complex is more highly processive than Pol alone on singly primed M13 single-stranded substrates. The results of these studies are consistent with the idea that the UL42 polypeptide is an accessory subunit of the HSV-1 DNA polymerase that acts to increase the processivity of polymerization. Preliminary experiments suggested that the increase in processivity was accompanied by an increase in the affinity of the polymerase for the ends of linear duplex DNA. We have further characterized the effect of the UL42 polypeptide on a defined hairpin primer template substrate. Gel shift and filter binding studies show that the affinity of the Pol catalytic subunit for the 3' terminus of the primer template increases 10-fold in the presence of UL42. DNase I footprinting experiments indicate that the Pol catalytic subunit binds to the primer template at a position that protects 14 bp of the 3' duplex region and an adjacent 18 bases of the single-stranded template. The presence of the UL42 polypeptide results in the additional protection of a contiguous 5 to 14 bp in the duplex region but does not affect the 5' position of the Pol subunit. Free UL42 protects the entire duplex region of the substrate but does not bind to the single-stranded region. Taken together, these results suggest that the increase in processivity in the presence of UL42 is related to the double-stranded DNA-binding activity of free UL42 and that the role of UL42 in the DNA polymerase complex is to act as a clamp, decreasing the probability that the polymerase will dissociate from the template after each cycle of catalysis.

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