Newly synthesized herpes simplex virus type 1 DNA yielded a heterogeneous sedimentation profile in neutral sucrose gradients, with the main peak occurring at approximately 40S. Components sedimenting slower than virion DNA and a rapidly sedimenting intracellular HSV DNA were also observed. Both the low-molecular weight and the rapidly sedimenting components seemed to be precursors of virion DNA: they almost completely disappeared after a 60-min chase of a 3-min pulse of 3H-thymidine, and were converted into DNA which cosedimented with virion 32P-labeled DNA. However, sedimentation analysis in alkaline sucrose gradients showed that a 60-min period was insufficient for completing the maturation of HSV DNA. Cleavage of parental DNA molecules was observed in neutral sucrose gradients after infection with 3H-thymidine-labeled virions. No evidence for the formation of covalently closed circles during the replication process was obtained. The presence of single-stranded regions in the replicative form of HSV DNA was revealed. Some of the short-pulse (30 sec) labeled HSV DNA (26.1%) was eluted from hydroxylapatite columns with the properties of single-stranded DNA, and 22% of its trichloroacetic acid precipitabüity was susceptible to single-strand specific SI nuclease treatment. Pulse-chase experiments indicated that the life-time of this single-stranded component in nascent DNA was probably not longer than 3 min. A small proportion of single-stranded regions, however, survived for longer periods. Almost all of the newly synthesized short-pulse-labeled HSV DNA exhibited an affinity for nitrocellulose filters. This affinity, which was SI nuclease-sensitive, gradually decreased with prolongation of the time of the chase. After chasing the pulse for 1 h, the attachment of newly synthesized DNA was comparable with virion DNA.

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