Regulated interaction of tegument proteins UL16 and UL11 from herpes simplex virus

Pooja Chadha, Jun Han, Jason L. Starkey, John W. Wills

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


It is well known that proteins in the tegument (located between the viral capsid and envelope proteins) play critical roles in the assembly and budding of herpesviruses. Tegument proteins UL16 and UL11 of herpes simplex virus (HSV) are conserved among all the Herpesviridae. Although these proteins directly interact in vitro, UL16 was found to colocalize poorly with UL11 in cotransfected cells. To explain this discrepancy, we hypothesized that UL16 is initially made in an inactive form and is artificially transformed to the binding-competent state when cells are disrupted. Consistent with a regulated interaction, UL16 was able to fully colocalize with UL11 when a large C-terminal segment of UL16 was removed, creating mutant UL16(1-155). Moreover, membrane flotation assays revealed a massive movement of this mutant to the top of sucrose gradients in the presence of UL11, whereas both the full-length UL16 and the C-terminal fragment (residues 156 to 373) remained at the bottom. Further evidence for the presence of a C-terminal regulatory domain was provided by single-amino-acid substitutions at conserved cysteines (C269S, C271S, and C357S), which enabled the efficient interaction of full-length UL16 with UL11. Lastly, the binding site for UL11 was further mapped to residues 81 to 155, and to our surprise, the 5 Cys residues within UL16(1-155) are not required, even though the modification of free cysteines in UL16 with N-ethylmaleimide does in fact prevent binding. Collectively, these results reveal a regulatory function within the C-terminal region of UL16 that controls an N-terminal UL11-binding activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11886-11898
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of virology
Issue number21
StatePublished - Nov 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Insect Science
  • Virology


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