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© 2016, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved. The herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) UL37 protein functions in virion envelopment at trans-Golgi membranes, as well as in retrograde and anterograde transport of virion capsids. Recently, we reported that UL37 interacts with glycoprotein K (gK) and its interacting partner protein UL20 (N. Jambunathan, D. Chouljenko, P. Desai, A. S. Charles, R. Subramanian, V. N. Chouljenko, and K. G. Kousoulas, J Virol 88:5927-5935, 2014,, facilitating cytoplasmic virion envelopment. Alignment of UL37 homologs encoded by alphaherpesviruses revealed the presence of highly conserved residues in the central portion of the UL37 protein. A cadre of nine UL37 site-specific mutations were produced and tested for their ability to inhibit virion envelopment and infectious virus production. Complementation analysis revealed that replacement of tyrosines 474 and 480 with alanine failed to complement the UL37-null virus, while all other mutated UL37 genes complemented the virus efficiently. The recombinant virus DC474-480 constructed with tyrosines 474, 476, 477, and 480 mutated to alanine residues produced a gK-null-like phenotype characterized by the production of very small plaques and accumulation of capsids in the cytoplasm of infected cells. Recombinant viruses having either tyrosine 476 or 477 replaced with alanine produced a wild-type phenotype. Immunoprecipitation assays revealed that replacement of all four tyrosines with alanines substantially reduced the ability of gK to interact with UL37. Alignment of HSV UL37 with the human cytomegalovirus and Epstein-Barr virus UL37 homologs revealed that Y480 was conserved only for alphaherpesviruses. Collectively, these results suggest that the UL37 conserved tyrosine 480 residue plays a crucial role in interactions with gK to facilitate cytoplasmic virion envelopment and infectious virus production.

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Journal of Virology

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