G-quadruplexes formed by Varicella-Zoster virus reiteration sequences suppress expression of glycoprotein C and regulate viral cell-to-cell spread

Woo Chang Chung, Subramaniyam Ravichandran, Daegyu Park, Gwang Myeong Lee, Young Eui Kim, Youngju Choi, Moon Jung Song, Kyeong Kyu Kim, Jin Hyun Ahn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


G-quadruplex (G4) formed by repetitive guanosine-rich sequences plays important roles in diverse cellular processes; however, its roles in viral infection are not fully understood. In this study, we investigated the genome-wide distribution of G4-forming sequences (G4 motifs) in Varicella-Zoster virus (VZV) and found that G4 motifs are enriched in the internal repeat short and the terminal repeat short regions flanking the unique short region and also in some reiteration (R) sequence regions. A high density of G4 motifs in the R2 region was found on the template strand of ORF14, which encodes glycoprotein C (gC), a virulent factor for viral growth in skin. Analyses such as circular dichroism spectroscopy, thermal difference spectra, and native polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis with oligodeoxynucleotides demonstrated that several G4 motifs in ORF14 form stable G4 structures. In transfection assays, gC expression from the G4-disrupted ORF14 gene was increased at the transcriptional level and became more resistant to suppression by G4-ligand treatment. The recombinant virus containing the G4-disrupted ORF14 gene expressed a higher level of gC mRNA, while it showed a slightly reduced growth. This G4-disrupted ORF14 virus produced smaller plaques than the wild-type virus. Our results demonstrate that G4 formation via reiteration sequences suppresses gC expression during VZV infection and regulates viral cell-to-cell spread.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1011095
JournalPLoS Pathogens
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Jan

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by grants from the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Science and ICT (2020R1A4A1018019, 2021M3A9I2080488, and 2022R1A2C1006748) to JHA. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright: © 2023 Chung et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Virology


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