The serine-threonine protein kinase encoded by US3 gene (pUS3) of alphaherpesviruses was shown to modulate actin reorganization, cell-to-cell spread, and virus egress in a number of virus species. However, the role of the US3 orthologues of equine herpesvirus type 1 and 4 (EHV-1 and EHV-4) has not yet been studied. Here, we show that US3 is not essential for virus replication in vitro. However, growth rates and plaque diameters of a US3-deleted EHV-1 and a mutant in which the catalytic active site was destroyed were significantly reduced when compared with parental and revertant viruses or a virus in which EHV-1 US3 was replaced with the corresponding EHV-4 gene. The reduced plaque sizes were consistent with accumulation of primarily enveloped virions in the perinuclear space of the US3-negative EHV-1, a phenotype that was also rescued by the EHV-4 orthologue. Furthermore, actin stress fiber disassembly was significantly more pronounced in cells infected with parental EHV-1, revertant, or the recombinant EHV-1 expressing EHV-4 US3. Finally, we observed that deletion of US3 in EHV-1 did not affect the expression of adhesion molecules on the surface of infected cells.
Proft, A., Spiesschaert, B., Izume, S., Taferner, S., Lehmann, M. J., & Azab, W. (2016). The role of the equine herpesvirus type 1 (EHV-1) us3-encoded protein kinase in actin reorganization and nuclear egress. Viruses, 8(10). https://doi.org/10.3390/v8100275