Role of the specific interaction of UL112-113 p84 with UL44 DNA polymerase processivity factor in promoting DNA replication of human cytomegalovirus.
The human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) UL112-113 region encodes four phosphoproteins with common amino termini (p34, p43, p50, and p84) via alternative splicing and is thought to be required for efficient viral DNA replication. We have previously shown that interactions among the four UL112-113 proteins regulate their intranuclear targeting and enable the recruitment of the UL44 DNA polymerase processivity factor to viral prereplication foci. Here, we show that in virus-infected cells, the UL112-113 proteins form a complex with UL44 and other replication proteins, such as UL84 and IE2. In vitro assays showed that all four phosphoproteins interacted with UL44. Interestingly, p84 required both the shared amino-terminal region and the specific near-carboxy-terminal region for UL44 binding. UL44 required both the carboxy-terminal region and the central region, including the dimerization domain for p84 binding. The production of recombinant virus from mutant Towne bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) DNA, which encodes intact p34, p43, and p50 and a carboxy-terminally truncated p84 defective in UL44 binding, was severely impaired compared to wild-type BAC DNA. A similar defect was observed when mutant BAC DNA encoded a carboxy-terminally truncated UL44 defective in p84 binding. In cotransfection replication assays using six replication core proteins, UL84, IE2, and UL112-113, the efficient replication of an HCMV oriLyt-containing plasmid required the regions of p84 and UL44 necessary for their interaction. Our data suggest that the UL112-113 proteins form a complex with other replication proteins such as UL44, UL84, and IE2 and that the specific interaction of UL112-113 p84 with UL44 is necessary for efficient viral DNA replication.