Identification of a herpes simplex virus 1 gene encoding neurovirulence factor by chemical proteomics

Akihisa Kato, Shungo Adachi, Shuichi Kawano, Kousuke Takeshima, Mizuki Watanabe, Shinobu Kitazume, Ryota Sato, Hideo Kusano, Naoto Koyanagi, Yuhei Maruzuru, Jun Arii, Tomohisa Hatta, Tohru Natsume, Yasushi Kawaguchi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Identification of the complete set of translated genes of viruses is important to understand viral replication and pathogenesis as well as for therapeutic approaches to control viral infection. Here, we use chemical proteomics, integrating bio-orthogonal non-canonical amino acid tagging and high-resolution mass spectrometry, to characterize the newly synthesized herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) proteome in infected cells. In these infected cells, host cellular protein synthesis is shut-off, increasing the chance to preferentially detect viral proteomes. We identify nine previously cryptic orphan protein coding sequences whose translated products are expressed in HSV-1-infected cells. Functional characterization of one identified protein, designated piUL49, shows that it is critical for HSV-1 neurovirulence in vivo by regulating the activity of virally encoded dUTPase, a key enzyme that maintains accurate DNA replication. Our results demonstrate that cryptic orphan protein coding genes of HSV-1, and probably other large DNA viruses, remain to be identified.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4894
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2020
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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