Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Microbiology & Immunology

First Advisor

Anthony Nicola


Herpes simplex virus entry into cells is a multistep process that engages the host cell machinery. The proteasome is a large, ATP-dependent, multisubunit protease that plays a critical role in the maintenance of cell homeostasis. A battery of assays were used to demonstrate that proteasome inhibitors blocked an early step in herpes simplex virus entry that occurred after capsid penetration into the cytosol but prior to capsid arrival at the nuclear periphery. Proteasome-dependent viral entry was not reliant on host or viral protein synthesis. MG132, a peptide aldehyde that competitively inhibits the degradative activity of the proteasome, had a reversible inhibitory effect on herpes simplex virus capsid transport. Herpes simplex virus can use endocytic or nonendocytic pathways to enter cells. These distinct entry routes were both dependent on proteasome-mediated proteolysis. In addition, herpes simplex virus successfully entered cells in the absence of a functional host ubiquitin-activating enzyme, suggesting that viral entry is ubiquitin independent. Herpes simplex virus immediate-early protein ICP0 is a multifunctional regulator of herpes simplex virus infection. Late in infection ICP0 interacts dynamically with cellular proteasomes. ICP0 has a RING finger domain with E3 ubiquitin ligase activity that is necessary for its IE functions. The fundamental and functional properties of ICP0 that is present in the virion tegument layer have not been well characterized. For these reasons, I sought to characterize tegument ICP0 and determine the role of tegument ICP0 during proteasome-dependent entry of herpes simplex virus. Protein compositions of wild-type and ICP0 null virions were similar, suggesting that the absence of ICP0 does not grossly impair virion assembly. Virions with mutations in the RING finger domain contained greatly reduced levels of tegument ICP0, suggesting that the domain influences the incorporation of ICP0. Virion ICP0 was resistant to removal by detergent and salt and was associated with capsids, features common to inner tegument proteins. ICP0 mutations that resulted in the absence of ICP0 in the tegument layer, allow herpes simplex virus to enter cells independently of the proteasome activity. I propose that proteasomal degradation of virion and/or host proteins is regulated by ICP0 to allow for efficient delivery of incoming herpes simplex virus capsids to the nucleus.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

May 2010