Insertions in the gG gene of pseudorabies virus reduce expression of the upstream Us3 protein and inhibit cell-to-cell spread of virus infection

G. L. Demmin, A. C. Clase, J. A. Randall, L. W. Enquist, B. W. Banfield

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54 Scopus citations


The alphaherpesvirus Us4 gene encodes glycoprotein G (gG), which is conserved in most viruses of the alphaherpesvirus subfamily. In the swine pathogen pseudorabies virus (PRV), mutant viruses with internal deletions and insertions in the gG gene have shown no discernible phenotypes. We report that insertions in the gG locus of the attenuated PRV strain Bartha show reduced virulence in vivo and are defective in their ability to spread from cell to cell in a cell-type-specific manner. Similar insertions in the gG locus of the wild-type PRV strain Becker had no effect on the ability of virus infection to spread between cells. Insertions in the gG locus of the virulent NIA-3 strain gave results similar to those found with the Bartha strain. To examine the role of gG in cell-to-cell spread, a nonsense mutation in the gG signal sequence was constructed and crossed into the Bartha strain. This mutant, PRV157, failed to express gG yet had cell-to-cell spread properties indistinguishable from those of the parental Bartha strain. These data indicated that, while insertions in the gG locus result in decreased cell-to-cell spread, the phenotype was not due to loss of gG expression as first predicted. Analysis of gene expression upstream and downstream of gG revealed that expression of the upstream Us3 protein is reduced by insertion of lacZ or egfp at the gG locus. By contrast, expression of the gene immediately downstream of gG, Us6, which encodes glycoprotein gD, was not affected by insertions in gG. These data indicate that DNA insertions in gG have polar effects and suggest that the serine/threonine kinase encoded by the Us3 gene, and not gG, functions in the spread of viral infection between cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10856-10869
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of virology
Issue number22
StatePublished - Nov 15 2001


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Insect Science
  • Virology

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