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Knockdown of DNA ligase IV/XRCC4 by RNA interference inhibits herpes simplex virus type I DNA replication.

Journal article
Authors Isabella Muylaert
Per Elias
Published in The Journal of biological chemistry
Volume 282
Issue 15
Pages 10865-72
ISSN 0021-9258
Publication year 2007
Published at Institute of Biomedicine, Department of Medical Biochemistry and Cell Biology
Pages 10865-72
Language en
Keywords Cell Line, DNA Ligases, genetics, metabolism, DNA Replication, genetics, DNA, Viral, biosynthesis, genetics, DNA-Binding Proteins, genetics, metabolism, Genome, Viral, genetics, Herpesvirus 1, Human, genetics, metabolism, Humans, RNA, Small Interfering, genetics, Virus Replication
Subject categories Medical and Health Sciences


Herpes simplex virus has a linear double-stranded DNA genome with directly repeated terminal sequences needed for cleavage and packaging of replicated DNA. In infected cells, linear genomes rapidly become endless. It is currently a matter of discussion whether the endless genomes are circles supporting rolling circle replication or arise by recombination of linear genomes forming concatemers. Here, we have examined the role of mammalian DNA ligases in the herpes simplex virus, type I (HSV-1) life cycle by employing RNA interference (RNAi) in human 1BR.3.N fibroblasts. We find that RNAi-mediated knockdown of DNA ligase IV and its co-factor XRCC4 causes a hundred-fold reduction of virus yield, a small plaque phenotype, and reduced DNA synthesis. The effect is specific because RNAi against DNA ligase I or DNA ligase III fail to reduce HSV-1 replication. Furthermore, RNAi against DNA ligase IV and XRCC4 does not affect replication of adenovirus. In addition, high multiplicity infections of HSV-1 in human DNA ligase IV-deficient cells reveal a pronounced delay of production of infectious virus. Finally, we demonstrate that formation of endless genomes is inhibited by RNAi-mediated depletion of DNA ligase IV and XRCC4. Our results suggests that DNA ligase IV/XRCC4 serves an important role in the replication cycle of herpes viruses and is likely to be required for the formation of the endless genomes early during productive infection.

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