The EICP22 protein (EICP22P) of Equine herpesvirus 1 (EHV-1) is an early protein that functions synergistically with other EHV-1 regulatory proteins to transactivate the expression of early and late viral genes. We have previously identified EICP22P as an accessory regulatory protein that has the ability to enhance the transactivating properties and the sequence-specific DNA-binding activity of the EHV-1 immediate-early protein (IEP). In the present study, we identify EICP22P as a self-associating protein able to form dimers and higher-order complexes during infection. Studies with the yeast two-hybrid system also indicate that physical interactions occur between EICP22P and IEP and that EICP22P self-aggregates. Results from in vitro and in vivo coimmunoprecipitation experiments and glutathione S-transferase (GST) pull-down studies confirmed a direct protein-protein interaction between EICP22P and IEP as well as self-interactions of EICP22P. Analyses of infected cells by laser-scanning confocal microscopy with antibodies specific for IEP and EICP22P revealed that these viral regulatory proteins colocalize in the nucleus at early times postinfection and form aggregates of dense nuclear structures within the nucleoplasm. Mutational analyses with a battery of EICP22P deletion mutants in both yeast two-hybrid and GST pull-down experiments implicated amino acids between positions 124 and 143 as the critical domain mediating the EICP22P self-interactions. Additional in vitro proteinbinding assays with a library of GST-EICP22P deletion mutants identified amino acids mapping within region 2 (amino acids [aa] 65 to 196) and region 3 (aa 197 to 268) of EICP22P as residues that mediate its interaction with IEP.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science