Expression of the conserved herpesvirus protein kinase (ChpK) of Marek’s disease alphaherpesvirus in the skin reveals a mechanistic importance for ChpK during interindividual spread in chickens

Andrea Krieter, Nagendraprabhu Ponnuraj, Keith W. Jarosinski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The Herpesviridae encode many conserved genes, including the conserved herpesvirus protein kinase (CHPK) that has multifunctional properties. In most cases, herpesviruses lacking CHPK can propagate in cell culture to various degrees, depending on the virus and cell culture system. However, in the natural animal model system of Marek’s disease alphaherpesvirus (MDV) in chickens, CHPK is absolutely required for interindividual spread from chicken to chicken. The lack of biological reagents for chicken and MDV has limited our understanding of this important gene during interindividual spread. Here, we engineered epitope-tagged proteins in the context of virus infection in order to detect CHPK in the host. Using immunofluorescence assays and Western blotting during infection in cell culture and in chickens, we determined that the invariant lysine 170 (K170) of MDV CHPK is required for interindividual spread and autophosphorylation of CHPK and that mutation to methionine (M170) results in instability of the CHPK protein. Using these newly generated viruses allowed us to examine the expression of CHPK in infected chickens, and these results showed that mutant CHPK localization and late viral protein expression were severely affected in feather follicles wherein MDV is shed, providing important information on the requirement of CHPK for interindividual spread. IMPORTANCE Marek’s disease in chickens is caused by Gallid alphaherpesvirus 2, better known as Marek’s disease alphaherpesvirus (MDV). Current vaccines only reduce tumor formation but do not block interindividual spread from chicken to chicken. Understanding MDV interindividual spread provides important information for the development of potential therapies to protect against Marek’s disease while also providing a reliable natural host in order to study herpesvirus replication and pathogenesis in animals. Here, we studied the conserved Herpesviridae protein kinase (CHPK) in cell culture and during infection in chickens. We determined that MDV CHPK is not required for cell-to-cell spread, for disease induction, and for oncogenicity. However, it is required for interindividual spread, and mutation of the invariant lysine (K170) results in stability issues and aberrant expression in chickens. This study is important because it addresses the critical role CHPK orthologs play in the natural host.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere01522-19
JournalJournal of virology
Volume94
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020

Keywords

  • CHPK
  • Chickens
  • Conserved herpesvirus protein kinase
  • Interindividual spread
  • Marek’s disease virus
  • Viral replication

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Insect Science
  • Virology

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Expression of the conserved herpesvirus protein kinase (ChpK) of Marek’s disease alphaherpesvirus in the skin reveals a mechanistic importance for ChpK during interindividual spread in chickens'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this