A single-cytosine-deletion in the herpes simplex virus gene encoding thymidine kinase (TK) was previously found in an acyclovir-resistant clinical isolate. A laboratory strain engineered to carry this mutation did not generate sufficient TK activity for detection by plaque autoradiography, which detected 0.25% wild-type activity. However, a drug sensitivity assay suggested that extremely low levels of TK are generated by this virus. The virus was estimated to express 0.09% of wild-type TK activity via a ribosomal frameshift 24 nucleotides upstream of the mutation. Remarkably, this appeared to be sufficient active TK to support a low level of reactivation from latently infected mouse trigeminal ganglia.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science