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Us3 is a serine/threonine protein kinase encoded by herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1). We recently identified serine at Us3 position 147 (Ser-147) as a physiological phosphorylation site of Us3 (A. Kato, M. Tanaka, M. Yamamoto, R. Asai, T. Sata, Y. Nishiyama, and Y. Kawaguchi, J. Virol. 82:6172-6189, 2008). In the present study, we investigated the effects of phosphorylation of Us3 Ser-147 on regulation of Us3 catalytic activity in infected cells and on HSV-1 pathogenesis. Our results were as follows. (i) Only a small fraction of Us3 purified from infected cells was phosphorylated at Ser-147. (ii) Us3 phosphorylated at Ser-147 purified from infected cells had significantly higher kinase activity than Us3 not phosphorylated at Ser-147. (iii) Phosphorylation of Us3 Ser-147 in infected cells was dependent on Us3 kinase activity. (iv) Replacement of Us3 Ser-147 by alanine significantly reduced viral replication in the mouse cornea and the development of herpes stromal keratitis and periocular skin disease in mice. These results indicated that Us3 catalytic activity is tightly regulated by autophosphorylation of Ser-147 in infected cells and that regulation of Us3 activity by autophosphorylation appeared to play a critical role in viral replication in vivo and in HSV-1 pathogenesis.


Ken Sagou, Takahiko Imai, Hiroshi Sagara, Masashi Uema, Yasushi Kawaguchi. Regulation of the catalytic activity of herpes simplex virus 1 protein kinase Us3 by autophosphorylation and its role in pathogenesis. Journal of virology. 2009 Jun;83(11):5773-83

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PMID: 19297494

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