Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) induces altered phosphoinositide metabolism in baby hamster kidney (BHK) cells, measured as incorporation of [3H]inositol or [32P]Pi [Langeland, Haarr & Holmsen (1986) Biochem. J. 237, 707-712]. We now report that this response in the inositol phospholipids is dependent on virus-specific proteins synthesized in the beta (early) stage of virus protein synthesis. This was demonstrated both by resistance to the inhibitory effect of cycloheximide after this stage of infection, and by the use of temperature-sensitive (ts) mutants of HSV-1; ts mutants in which protein synthesis was blocked so that only the alpha proteins were expressed showed a PIP2/PIP (phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate/phosphatidylinositol 4-monophosphate) ratio similar to uninfected cells, while ts mutants which were defective in protein synthesis at a late beta stage or later showed increased PIP2/PIP ratios similar to cells infected by wild type HSV-1.

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