The herpes simplex virus type-1 DNA helicase-primase is a heterotrimer encoded by the UL5, UL8, and UL52 genes. The core enzyme, specified by the UL5 and UL52 genes, retains DNA helicase, DNA-dependent nucleoside triphospbatase, and primase activities. The UL8 subunit has previously been implicated in increasing primer stability and in stimulating primer synthesis by the core enzyme. To further characterize the function of the UL8 subunit, we have examined its effect on the activities of the UL5/52 core enzyme using DNA templates covered by the herpes simplex virus type-1 single-strand DNA- binding protein ICP8. We found that while ICP8 stimulated the DNA helicase activity of the UL5/52 proteins up to 3-fold, maximum stimulation by ICP8 required the presence of UL8 protein. Moreover, UL8 protein was required to reverse the inhibitory effect of ICP8 on the DNA-dependent ATPase and primase activities of the UL5/52 proteins. These observations were specific for ICP8 since the heterologous Escherichia coli singlestrand DNA-binding protein could not substitute for ICP8. These data suggest that UL8 protein mediates an interaction between the UL5/52 core enzyme and ICP8 that optimizes the utilization of ICP8-covered DNA templates during DNA replication.
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