DNA damage promotes herpes simplex virus-1 protein expression in a neuroblastoma cell line
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Although the induction of the cellular DNA damage response by herpes simplex virus-1 (HSV-1) infection of epithelial cells in tissue culture promotes productive infection, there has been no experimental observation of the effect of the cellular DNA damage response on HSV-1 infection in vivo or in neuronal derived cell lines in tissue culture. Thus, it has been speculated that the lack of cellular DNA damage induction during infection of neurons may promote latency in these cells. This work examines the profile of HSV-1 promoter induction and protein expression, in the absence or presence of infection; using cellular DNA damage inducing topoisomerase inhibitors (Camptothecin and Etoposide) on a neuroblastoma cell line (C1300) in which HSV-1 infection fails to induce the DNA damage response. In the absence of infection, a plasmid expressing the immediate early ICP0 promoter was the most induced by the DNA damage drug treatments compared to the early (RR) and late (VP16) gene promoters. Similarly, drug treatment of C1300 cells infected with HSV-1 virus showed enhanced protein expression for ICP0, but not ICP4 and VP16 proteins. However, when the cells were infected with a HSV-1 virus defective in the immediate early gene trans-activator VP16 (in814) and treated with the DNA damaging drugs, there was enhanced expression of immediate early and late HSV-1 proteins. Although, viral infection of the neuroblastoma cell alone did not induce DNA damage, cellular DNA damage induced by drug treatments facilitated viral promoter induction and viral protein expression. This implicates a mechanism by which HSV-1 viral genes in a quiescent or latent state may become induced by cellular DNA damage in neuronal cells to facilitate productive infection.