The deletion of ORF11 severely impaired VZV infection of human skin xenografts. Here, we investigate the characteristics and functions of the ORF11 gene product. ORF11 is expressed as a 118kDa polypeptide in VZV-infected cells; the protein is present in the nucleus and cytoplasm and is incorporated into VZ virions. Although ORF11 had little effect in transactivating VZV gene promoters in transfection assays, deleting ORF11 from the virus was associated with reduced expression of immediate early proteins IE4, IE62 and IE63, and the major glycoprotein, gE. ORF11 was identified as an RNA binding protein and its RNA binding domain was defined. However, disrupting the ORF11 RNA binding domain did not affect skin infection, indicating that RNA binding capacity, conserved among the alphaherpesviruses homologues, is not essential while the contribution of ORF11 to the expression of the IE proteins and gE may be required for VZV pathogenesis in skin in vivo.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.virol.2010.12.055
View details for Web of Science ID 000288778200018
View details for PubMedID 21276599