It is believed that the bICP0 protein encoded by bovine herpesvirus 1 (BoHV-1) stimulates productive infection by activating viral gene expression. Like the other ICP0-like proteins encoded by alphaherpesvirinae subfamily members, bICP0 contains a zinc RING finger near its amino terminus. The zinc RING finger of bICP0 activates viral transcription, stimulates productive infection, and is toxic to certain cell types. Apart from the zinc RING finger, bICP0 possesses little similarity to the herpes simplex virus type 1 ICP0 protein making it difficult to predict what regions of bICPO are important. To begin to identify bICPO functional domains that are not part of the zinc RING finger, a panel of transposon insertion mutants that span bICPO was developed. A large domain spanning aa 78-256, and a separate domain that is at or near aa 457 was necessary for efficient transactivation of a simple promoter. Transposon insertion at aa 91 impaired bICP0 protein stability in transfected cells. Insertion of transposons into the acidic domain of bICP0 had little or no effect on transactivation of a simple promoter or protein expression suggesting this region does not play a major role in activating gene expression. Sequences near the C terminus (aa 607-676) contain a functional nuclear localization signal. Collectively, these studies indicated that bICP0 contains several important functional domains: (i) the zinc RING finger, (ii) two separate domains that activate transcription, and (iii) a C-terminal nuclear localization signal that is also necessary for efficient transactivation.
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