We have formerly identified the conserved herpesvirus protein kinase (CHPK) as essential for horizontal transmission of Marek’s disease virus (MDV). Thus far, it has been confirmed that the mutation of the invariant lysine (K) of CHPKs abrogates kinase activity and that CHPK activity is required for MDV horizontal transmission. Since CHPK is conserved among all members of the Herpesviridae, we hypothesized that CHPK, and specifically its kinase activity, is important for the horizontal transmission of other herpesviruses. To test this hypothesis, we utilized our experimental and natural infection model in chickens with MD vaccine strain 301B/1 of Gallid alphaherpesvirus 3 (GaHV3). First, we mutated the invariant lysine (K) 157 of 301B/1 CHPK to alanine (A) and determined whether it was required for horizontal transmission. To confirm the requirement of 301B/1 CHPK activity for transmission, a rescued virus was generated in which the A157 was changed back to a K (A157K). Despite both the CHPK mutant (K157A) and rescuant (A157K) viruses having replication defects in vivo, only the CHPK mutant (K157A) was unable to spread to contact chickens, while both wild-type and rescuant (A157K) viruses transmitted efficiently, confirming the importance of CHPK activity for horizontal spread. The data confirm that CHPK is required for GaHV3 transmission and suggest that the requirement of avian CHPKs for natural infection is conserved.
- conserved herpesvirus protein kinase
- horizontal spread
- Marek’s disease vaccine