Comprehensive analysis of nuclear export of herpes simplex virus type 1 tegument proteins and their Epstein-Barr virus orthologs
Morphogenesis of herpesviral virions is initiated in the nucleus but completed in the cytoplasm. Mature virions contain more than 25 tegument proteins many of which perform both nuclear and cytoplasmic functions suggesting they shuttle between these compartments. While nuclear import of herpesviral proteins was shown to be crucial for viral propagation, active nuclear export and its functional impact are still poorly understood. To systematically analyse nuclear export of tegument proteins present in virions of Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV1) and Epstein Barr virus (EBV), the Nuclear EXport Trapped by RAPamycin assay (NEX‐TRAP) was applied. Nine of the 22 investigated HSV1 tegument proteins including pUL4, pUL7, pUL11, pUL13, pUL21, pUL37d11, pUL47, pUL48, and pUS2 as well as two out of six EBV orthologs harbor nuclear export activity. A functional leucine‐rich nuclear export sequence (NES) recognized by the export factor CRM1/Xpo1 was identified in six of them. The comparison between experimental and bioinformatic data indicates that experimental validation of predicted NESes is required. Mutational analysis of the pUL48/VP16 NES revealed its importance for herpesviral propagation. Together our data suggest that nuclear export is an important feature of the herpesviral life cycle required to coordinate nuclear and cytoplasmic processes.