Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, Vol.298, No.3, 357-363, 2002
Intercellular trafficking of herpes simplex virus type 2 UL14 deletion mutant proteins
The UL14 gene product of herpes simplex virus is a 32 kDa protein expressed late in infection and is a minor component of the virion tegument. We recently showed that the wild-type UL14 protein has heat shock protein (HSP)-like and/or molecular chaperone-like functions. In this study, the intracellular localization of UL14 wild-type and deletion mutant proteins was examined in transfected cells by immunofluorescence. We found that N-terminus deleted but not wild-type/C-terminus deleted mutant proteins showed a significant number of cytoplasmic, multi-cellular stains in transfected Vero cells. The effect was greatly intensified by subjecting cells to heat shock at 43 degreesC, whereas it was obstructed by treatment with the microfilament-disrupting drug cytochalasin D. The staining patterns of UL14 antigen-positive cells after heat shock suggested a cell-to-cell spread of the protein. Although the mechanism is unclear, the phenomenon seems to be an unprecedented type of intercellular trafficking. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science (USA). All rights reserved.