The role of putative promoter or activator sequences downstream of the herpes simplex virus type 2 latency-associated transcript (LAT) promoter and upstream of the LAT intron was investigated in vivo by constructing and evaluating mutant viruses with deletions in this region. The deletion of LAT promoter sequences upstream of the primary LAT transcript reduced levels of LAT expression during productive infections, compared with the LAT expression level of wild-type virus, and abolished LAT expression during latency. The deletion of the putative downstream regulatory elements reduced but did not eliminate LAT expression during productive and latent infections. The deletion of both regions almost completely eliminated acute LAT transcription, although additional acute LAT-region transcription directed by sequences upstream of either region was detected by reverse transcriptase PCR. The deletion of the downstream elements did not influence the ability of the virus to reactivate from latently infected guinea pigs relative to the ability of the wild-type virus to reactivate; thus, decreased LAT expression did not affect the frequency of recurrence. The deletion of both regions did not affect the ability of the virus to establish latency. We conclude that downstream regulatory elements are necessary for maximal acute LAT expression but do not constitute an independent promoter during latency and do not play an obvious role in the establishment of or reactivation from latency.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science