Inhibition of phosphorylation of cellular dUTP nucleotidohydrolase as a consequence of herpes simplex virus infection

Ronald Lirette, Sal Caradonna

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


During an infection with herpes simplex virus, activity of cellular dUTPase decreases as a function of time, post‐infection, while virus‐encoded dUTPase activity increases. Prelabeling of cells with 35S‐methionine and immunoprecipitation analysis, using monoclonal antibodies, indicates that cellular dUTPase protein levels remain the same (with respect to levels in uninfected cells) throughout the infection period. New synthesis of cellular dUTPase does not occur in infected cells as determined by 35S‐methionine labeling during infection. Further characterization of the cellular dUTPase, in uninfected cells, reveals that the protein is post‐translationally phosphorylated at serine residues. Pulse labeling of virus‐infected cells with 32P‐orthophosphate reveals that the phosphorylation rate of the cellular dUTPase protein decreases significantly as a function of time post‐infection. In an effort to establish that phosphate turnover was occurring on the cellular dUTPase protein, cells were prelabeled with 32P‐orthophosphate and then infected with HSV in the absence of label. Evidence from this experiment indicates that the phosphate moiety is removed from the cellular dUTPase protein during the infection. A series of viable virus mutants was generated by insertional inactivation of the HSV dUTPase gene. These mutants do not express viral dUTPase activity and HSV dUTPase protein is not detected by western blot analysis. However, in contrast to the wild‐type situation, these mutant virus retain significant cellular dUTPase activity throughout infection. Interestingly, phosphorylation of cellular dUTPase protein is now readily detectable in each of the mutant virus‐infected cells. These studies indicate that cellular dUTPase activity is diminished in wild‐type HSV‐infected cells by a process of dephosphorylation. It also appears that in mutant HSV, lacking the virus dUTPase, the mechanism of dephosphorylation and thus inactivation of cellular dUTPase is not functional. The end result is that the mutant virus can now rely on the cellular activity for its survival.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)339-353
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Cellular Biochemistry
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1990
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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