After fusion of the envelope of herpesvirus particles with the host cell plasma membrane, incoming nucleocapsids are transported to nuclear pores. Inner tegument proteins pUL36, pUL37, and pUS3 remain attached to the nucleocapsid after entry and therefore might mediate interactions between the nucleocapsid and cellular microtubule-associated motor proteins during transport. To assay for the role of pUL37 in this process, we constructed a pUL37-deleted pseudorabies virus mutant, PrV-ΔUL37/UL35GFP, which expresses a fusion protein of green fluorescent protein (GFP) and the nonessential small capsid protein pUL35, resulting in the formation of fluorescently labeled capsids. Confocal laser-scanning microscopy of rabbit kidney cells infected with PrV-ΔUL37/UL35GFP revealed that, whereas penetration was not affected in the absence of pUL37, nuclear translocation of incoming particles was delayed by approximately 1 h compared to PrV-UL35GFP, but not abolished. In contrast, phenotypically complemented pUL37-containing virions of PrV-ΔUL37/UL35GFP exhibited wild type-like entry kinetics. Thus, the presence of pUL37 is required for rapid nuclear translocation of incoming nucleocapsids
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