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The roles of HSV-1 VP16 and ICP0 in modulating cellular innate antiviral responses Open Access


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Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Hancock, Meaghan
Supervisor and department
Smiley, James (Medical Microbiology and Immunology)
Examining committee member and department
Schang, Luis (Biochemistry and Medical Microbiology and Immunology)
Foley, Edan (Medical Microbiology and Immunology)
Misra, Vikram (Department of Veterinary Microbiology)
Hazes, Bart (Medical Microbiology and Immunology)
Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology

Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
Infection of most cell types with herpes simplex virus (HSV) mutants lacking the activation functions of VP16 and/or ICP0 results in repression of viral gene expression. However, the human osteosarcoma cell line U2OS supports the replication of VP16 and ICP0 mutants to nearly wild type levels. Prior to the studies presented in this thesis, the basis for the permissivity of U2OS cells to VP16 and ICP0 mutants had not been explored. Here, somatic cell fusion assays were used to determine that U2OS cells support the replication of VP16 and ICP0 mutants due to a defect in an innate gene silencing mechanism. The artificial induction of interferon stimulated genes that occurs during the somatic cell fusion assays is not the basis for the observed repression of viral gene expression. As one means of identifying components of the antiviral pathway defective in U2OS cells, restrictive cell types were treated with kinase inhibitors and infected with VP16 and/or ICP0 mutants. Although several compounds were identified which compensate for the defect in gene expression of VP16 mutants, these drugs also stimulate mutant virus gene expression in U2OS. Thus, U2OS are most likely not defective in the cellular signalling pathway(s) targeted by these compound(s). Finally, the importance of VP16 and ICP0 in modulating chromatin structure on the viral genome in both restrictive and permissive cells was examined, uncovering an essential role for both proteins in altering histone occupancy and acetylation levels. Importantly, U2OS cells have a defect in the chromatin-based pathway targeted by ICP0. However, evidence suggests that the ability of VP16 and ICP0 to affect histone occupancy and acetylation levels is not required for viral gene expression. Taken together, the results of this thesis demonstrate that U2OS cells support the replication of VP16 and ICP0 mutants due to a defect in an innate antiviral mechanism which does not involve the targets of several well characterized kinase inhibitors. The significance of the defect in a chromatin-based pathway targeted by ICP0 in U2OS cells remains to be elucidated.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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