Acyclovir [9-(2-hydroxyethoxymethyl)guanine] (ACV), a potent antiviral compound, was phosphorylated to the same extent by extracts from untreated and iododeoxyuridine-treated Epstein-Barr virus-containing latent D98/HR-1 somatic hybrid cells. ATP was the preferred phosphate donor over other nucleoside triphosphates. The cytosol extract from D98/HR-1 cells effected optimum phosphorylation of thymidine at pH 8.0, whereas ACV was phosphorylated equally well over a wide pH range. Electrophoretic analysis of thymidine kinase-, deoxycytidine kinase-, and ACV-phosphorylating activities from both untreated and iododeoxyuridine-treated cell extracts displayed identical properties. A small part (5 to 10%) of the loaded ACV-phosphorylating activity seemed to migrate with the deoxycytidine kinase activity from cytosol. dTTP and dCTP, at relatively high concentrations, partially inhibited ACV-phosphorylating activity. The results suggest that Epstein-Barr virus does not code for its own thymidine kinase and that phosphorylation of ACV in Epstein-Barr virus-producing cells is carried out by multiple or as yet unidentified ATP-dependent nonspecific cellular phosphotransferases
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