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Herpes simplex virus Research

Herpes Simplex Virus General Properties

HSV is a nuclear replicating, icosahedral, enveloped DNA virus. The HSV envelope contains at least 8 glycoproteins. The matrix or tegument which contacts both the envelope and the capsid contains at least 15-20 proteins.

hsv image
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Work by two groups of collaborators, the first including Jay Brown and Bill Newcomb at the University of Virginia working with Alasdair Steven, Benes Trus, Bernard Heymann at the NIH, and the second including Wah Chiu at Baylor University, Z. Hong Zhou at the University of Texas, Houston, and Frazer Rixon at the MRC Virology Unit in Glasgow have applied high resolution, computer-enhanced electron microscopy of frozen viral capsids and x-ray crystallography to obtain elegant images of the virus.

hsv image
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Recently, Alex Malkin and Marco Plomp working in Alex McPherson's laboratory at UCI using material supplied by us have applied the new technique of atomic force microscopy to obtain images of very high resolution in real time. These new methods have promise of providing images of living virus-infected cells.

atomic force microscopy image
Thanks to A. Malkin, M. Plomp, A. McPherson


Protein composition of the HSV-1 capsid

The capsid itself is made up of 6 proteins--the major one being the 150,000d MW major capsid protein (UL19). The molar ratio of different viral proteins in the capsid are shown in the following table.

Protein composition of the HSV-1 Capsid
Protein Gene MW Copies per Capsid Location in Capsid
VP5 UL19 149,075 960 Capsomers
VP19c UL38 50,260 375 Triplexes
VP21 UL26 45,000 87 Inside Capsid
VP23 UL18 34,268 572 Triplexes
VP24 UL26.5 26,618 147 Inside Capsid
VP26 UL35 12,095 952 Capsomer Tips