HSV-1 Genome Shown to Contain Significantly More ORFs

May 09, 2020 | Biotechnology

Reading time: 2 minutes

This week, Lab.Equipment has curated a new Biotech article published from GEN – Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News:

Until recently, scientists had assumed that there are about 80 open reading frames (ORFs) in the genome of herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1). Now researchers at the Julius-Maximilians-Universität (JMU) Würzburg in Bavaria, Germany, and colleagues at other institutions have shown that there are a lot more—namely 284 ORFs. These are translated from hundreds of novel viral transcripts, which have been identified by the team in an article “Integrative functional genomics decodes herpes simplex virus 1” in Nature Communications.

“The predicted 80 open reading frames (ORFs) of herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) have been intensively studied for decades. Here, we unravel the complete viral transcriptome and translatome during lytic infection with base-pair resolution by computational integration of multi-omics data. We identify a total of 201 transcripts and 284 ORFs including all known and 46 novel large ORFs. This includes a so far unknown ORF in the locus deleted in the FDA-approved oncolytic virus Imlygic. Multiple transcript isoforms expressed from individual gene loci explain translation of the vast majority of ORFs as well as N-terminal extensions (NTEs) and truncations,” write the investigators.

“We show that NTEs with non-canonical start codons govern the subcellular protein localization and packaging of key viral regulators and structural proteins. We extend the current nomenclature to include all viral gene products and provide a genome browser that visualizes all the obtained data from whole genome to single-nucleotide resolution.”

“The new findings now make it possible to study the individual genes of the virus much more precisely than before,” says Lars Dölken, PhD, head of the JMU Chair of Virology. He was in charge of this project together with Florian Erhard, PhD, JMU junior professor of systems virology. The research team used a broad spectrum of the latest systems... More of this in the GEN Blog.

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