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Effects of vaccinia virus uracil DNA glycosylase catalytic site and deoxyuridine triphosphatase deletion mutations individually and together on replication in active and quiescent cells and pathogenesis in mice

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Author(s): De Silva Frank | Moss Bernard

Journal: Virology Journal
ISSN 1743-422X

Volume: 5;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 145;
Date: 2008;
Original page

ABSTRACT
Abstract Background Low levels of uracil in DNA result from misincorporation of dUMP or cytosine deamination. Vaccinia virus (VACV), the prototype poxvirus, encodes two enzymes that can potentially reduce the amount of uracil in DNA. Deoxyuridine triphosphatase (dUTPase) hydrolyzes dUTP, generating dUMP for biosynthesis of thymidine nucleotides while decreasing the availability of dUTP for misincorporation; uracil DNA glycosylase (UNG) cleaves uracil N-glycosylic bonds in DNA initiating base excision repair. Studies with actively dividing cells showed that the VACV UNG protein is required for DNA replication but the UNG catalytic site is not, whereas the dUTPase gene can be deleted without impairing virus replication. Recombinant VACV with an UNG catalytic site mutation was attenuated in vivo, while a dUTPase deletion mutant was not. However, the importance of the two enzymes for replication in quiescent cells, their possible synergy and roles in virulence have not been fully assessed. Results VACV mutants lacking the gene encoding dUTPase or with catalytic site mutations in UNG and double UNG/dUTPase mutants were constructed. Replication of UNG and UNG/dUTPase mutants were slightly reduced compared to wild type or the dUTPase mutant in actively dividing cells. Viral DNA replication was reduced about one-third under these conditions. After high multiplicity infection of quiescent fibroblasts, yields of wild type and mutant viruses were decreased by 2-logs with relative differences similar to those observed in active fibroblasts. However, under low multiplicity multi-step growth conditions in quiescent fibroblasts, replication of the dUTPase/UNG mutant was delayed and 5-fold lower than that of either single mutant or parental virus. This difference was exacerbated by 1-day serial passages on quiescent fibroblasts, resulting in 2- to 3-logs lower titer of the double mutant compared to the parental and single mutant viruses. Each mutant was more attenuated than a revertant virus upon intranasal infection of mice. Conclusion VACV UNG and dUTPase activities are more important for replication in quiescent cells, which have low levels of endogenous UNG and dUTPase, than in more metabolically active cells and the loss of both is more detrimental than either alone. Both UNG and dUTPase activities are required for full virulence in mice.
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Tango Jona
Tangokurs Rapperswil-Jona