Infection of cattle or bovine cells with bovine herpesvirus 1 (BHV-1) leads to increased apoptosis. Previous studies indicated that BHV-1 infected cell protein 0 (bICP0), the major transcriptional regulatory protein of BHV-1, is toxic in transiently transfected cells. Point mutations within the zinc RING finger of bICP0 reduced toxicity and eliminated the ability of bICP0 to activate viral gene expression. In mouse neuroblastoma cells (neuro-2A) and bovine turbinate cells, bICP0 activated caspase 3, a key regulatory protein in the apoptotic pathway. A pro-apoptotic gene (Bax), but not bICP0, induced caspase 3 cleavage and activation by 8 h after transfection of neuro-2A cells. Conversely, bICP0 or the N-terminal 356 aa of bICP0 did not induce caspase 3 cleavage in neuro-2A cells until 30 h after transfection, suggesting that bICP0 stimulates caspase 3 cleavage by an indirect mechanism. These studies indicate that the toxic functions of bICP0 correlate with caspase 3 cleavage and activation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas