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Induced extrusion of DNA from the capsid of herpes simplex virus type 1.

By W W Newcomb and J C Brown


DNA-filled capsids (C capsids) of herpes simplex virus type 1 were treated in vitro with guanidine-HCl (GuHCl) and analyzed for DNA loss by sucrose density gradient ultracentrifugation and electron microscopy. DNA was found to be lost quantitatively from virtually all capsids treated with GuHCl at concentrations of 0.5 M or higher, while 0.1 M GuHCl had little or no effect. DNA removal from 0.5 M GuHCl-treated capsids was effected without significant change in the capsid protein composition, as judged by sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, or in its structure, as judged by electron microscopy. Electron microscopic examination of capsids in the process of emptying showed that DNA was extruded from multiple, discrete sites which appeared to coincide with capsid vertices. DNA exited the capsid in the form of thick strands or fibers that varied in diameter from approximately 4 to 13 nm with preferred diameters of 7 and 11 nm. The fibers most probably correspond to multiple, laterally aligned DNA segments, as their diameters are nearly all greater than that of a single DNA double helix. The results suggest that GuHCl treatment promotes an alteration in the capsid pentons which allows DNA to escape locally. Hexons must be more resistant to this change, since DNA loss appears to be restricted to the pentons. The ability of GuHCl to cause loss of DNA from C capsids with no accompanying change in capsid morphology or protein composition suggests that penton sites may open transiently to permit DNA exist and then return to their original state

Topics: Research Article
Year: 1994
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Provided by: PubMed Central
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