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1.  Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus ORF57 in viral RNA processing 
Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) ORF57 (MTA, mRNA transcript accumulation) is a multifunctional regulator of the expression of viral lytic genes. KSHV ORF57 is expressed during viral lytic infection and is essential for virus production. Like its homologues in the herpesvirus family, ORF57 promotes the accumulation (stabilization) and export of viral intronless RNA transcripts by a mechanism which remains to be defined. The ORF57-Aly/REF interaction plays only a small role in viral RNA export. Although other members of the family generally inhibit the splicing of cellular RNAs, KSHV ORF57 and EBV EB2, in sharp contrast, stimulate viral RNA splicing for the expression of viral intron-containing genes. The functions of KSHV ORF57 are independent of transcription and of other viral proteins; instead, these functions always rely on cellular components and occur in various protein-RNA complexes. ORF57 may synergize with KSHV ORF50 to transactivate a subset of viral promoters by an unknown mechanism. Thus, some functions of ORF57 have been conserved while others have diverged from its homologues as ORF57 adapted over evolution to KSHV biology and pathogenesis.
PMCID: PMC2654597  PMID: 19273144
Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus; Gene expression; ORF57; RNA splicing; Post-transcriptional regulation; Protein-RNA interaction; RNA export; Review
2.  K-bZIP of Kaposi's Sarcoma-Associated Herpesvirus/Human Herpesvirus 8 (KSHV/HHV-8) Binds KSHV/HHV-8 Rta and Represses Rta-Mediated Transactivation 
Journal of Virology  2003;77(6):3809-3815.
The regulatory circuit for Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus/human herpesvirus 8 (KSHV/HHV-8) gene expression bears resemblance to that of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), but with interesting differences. Based on protein sequence similarities and synteny to their EBV counterparts, two KSHV/HHV-8 viral regulatory factors, HHV-8 Rta and K-bZIP, encoded by open reading frame (ORF) 50 and ORF K8, respectively, have been identified. Rta is an immediate early transcriptional activator that activates lytic viral replication and mediates viral reactivation from latency, while ORF K8 is an early gene activated by Rta. Extensive splicing of ORF K8 mRNA leads to the production of K-bZIP, a protein of the basic domain-leucine zipper (bZIP) family. The role of K-bZIP in viral replication, however, remains unresolved. Here, we report that K-bZIP is a nuclear protein that binds Rta directly both in vivo and in vitro and represses Rta-mediated transactivation of the K-bZIP promoter. We further demonstrate that the leucine zipper domain of K-bZIP is required for Rta binding and a K-bZIP mutant lacking the leucine zipper does not repress Rta activity. Finally, the K-bZIP-mediated repression of Rta transactivation cannot be restored by overexpression of the transcriptional coactivator p300 or the p300-CBP-associated factor, P/CAF. Our results suggest that K-bZIP is involved in a feedback circuit to turn off its own expression and possibly the expression of other early genes activated by Rta.
PMCID: PMC149497  PMID: 12610155
3.  Stability of a Long Noncoding Viral RNA Depends on a 9-nt Core Element at the RNA 5' End to Interact with Viral ORF57 and Cellular PABPC1 
Kaposi sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) ORF57, also known as Mta (mRNA transcript accumulation), enhances viral intron-less transcript accumulation and promotes splicing of intron-containing viral RNA transcripts. In this study, we identified KSHV PAN, a long non-coding polyadenylated nuclear RNA as a main target of ORF57 by a genome-wide CLIP (cross-linking and immunoprecipitation) approach. KSHV genome lacking ORF57 expresses only a minimal amount of PAN. In cotransfection experiments, ORF57 alone increased PAN expression by 20-30-fold when compared to vector control. This accumulation function of ORF57 was dependent on a structured RNA element in the 5' PAN, named MRE (Mta responsive element), but not much so on an ENE (expression and nuclear retention element) in the 3' PAN previously reported by other studies. We showed that the major function of the 5' PAN MRE is increasing the RNA half-life of PAN in the presence of ORF57. Further mutational analyses revealed a core motif consisting of 9 nucleotides in the MRE-II , which is responsible for ORF57 interaction and function. The 9-nt core in the MRE-II also binds cellular PABPC1, but not the E1B-AP5 which binds another region of the MRE-II. In addition, we found that PAN RNA is partially exportable in the presence of ORF57. Together, our data provide compelling evidence as to how ORF57 functions to accumulate a non-coding viral RNA in the course of virus lytic infection.
PMCID: PMC3204405  PMID: 22043172
KSHV; long non-coding RNA; ORF57; PAN; RNA stability; RNA accumulation; PABPC1; E1B-AP5
4.  Gene Structure and Expression of Kaposi's Sarcoma-Associated Herpesvirus ORF56, ORF57, ORF58, and ORF59▿  
Journal of Virology  2006;80(24):11968-11981.
Though similar to those of herpesvirus saimiri and Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), the Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) genome features more splice genes and encodes many genes with bicistronic or polycistronic transcripts. In the present study, the gene structure and expression of KSHV ORF56 (primase), ORF57 (MTA), ORF58 (EBV BMRF2 homologue), and ORF59 (DNA polymerase processivity factor) were analyzed in butyrate-activated KSHV+ JSC-1 cells. ORF56 was expressed at low abundance as a bicistronic ORF56/57 transcript that utilized the same intron, with two alternative branch points, as ORF57 for its RNA splicing. ORF56 was transcribed from two transcription start sites, nucleotides (nt) 78994 (minor) and 79075 (major), but selected the same poly(A) signal as ORF57 for RNA polyadenylation. The majority of ORF56 and ORF57 transcripts were cleaved at nt 83628, although other nearby cleavage sites were selectable. On the opposite strand of the viral genome, colinear ORF58 and ORF59 were transcribed from different transcription start sites, nt 95821 (major) or 95824 (minor) for ORF58 and nt 96790 (minor) or 96794 (major) for ORF59, but shared overlapping poly(A) signals at nt 94492 and 94488. Two cleavage sites, at nt 94477 and nt 94469, could be equally selected for ORF59 polyadenylation, but only the cleavage site at nt 94469 could be selected for ORF58 polyadenylation without disrupting the ORF58 stop codon immediately upstream. ORF58 was expressed in low abundance as a monocistronic transcript, with a long 5′ untranslated region (UTR) but a short 3′ UTR, whereas ORF59 was expressed in high abundance as a bicistronic transcript, with a short 5′ UTR and a long 3′ UTR similar to those of polycistronic ORF60 and ORF62. Both ORF56 and ORF59 are targets of ORF57 and were up-regulated significantly in the presence of ORF57, a posttranscriptional regulator.
PMCID: PMC1676266  PMID: 17020939
5.  Chromatin Immunoprecipitation and Microarray Analysis Suggest Functional Cooperation between Kaposi's Sarcoma-Associated Herpesvirus ORF57 and K-bZIP 
Journal of Virology  2013;87(7):4005-4016.
The Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) open reading frame 57 (ORF57)-encoded protein (Mta) is a multifunctional regulator of viral gene expression. ORF57 is essential for viral replication, so elucidation of its molecular mechanisms is important for understanding KSHV infection. ORF57 has been implicated in nearly every aspect of viral gene expression, including transcription, RNA stability, splicing, export, and translation. Here we demonstrate that ORF57 interacts with the KSHV K-bZIP protein in vitro and in cell extracts from lytically reactivated infected cells. To further test the biological relevance of the interaction, we performed a chromatin immunoprecipitation and microarray (ChIP-chip) analysis using anti-ORF57 antibodies and a KSHV tiling array. The results revealed four specific areas of enrichment, including the ORF4 and K8 (K-bZIP) promoters, as well as oriLyt, all of which interact with K-bZIP. In addition, ORF57 associated with DNA corresponding to the PAN RNA transcribed region, a known posttranscriptional target of ORF57. All of the peaks were RNase insensitive, demonstrating that ORF57 association with the viral genome is unlikely to be mediated exclusively by an RNA tether. Our data demonstrate that ORF57 associates with the viral genome by using at least two modes of recruitment, and they suggest that ORF57 and K-bZIP coregulate viral gene expression during lytic infection.
PMCID: PMC3624208  PMID: 23365430
6.  Recruitment of the Complete hTREX Complex Is Required for Kaposi's Sarcoma–Associated Herpesvirus Intronless mRNA Nuclear Export and Virus Replication 
PLoS Pathogens  2008;4(10):e1000194.
A cellular pre-mRNA undergoes various post-transcriptional processing events, including capping, splicing and polyadenylation prior to nuclear export. Splicing is particularly important for mRNA nuclear export as two distinct multi-protein complexes, known as human TREX (hTREX) and the exon-junction complex (EJC), are recruited to the mRNA in a splicing-dependent manner. In contrast, a number of Kaposi's sarcoma–associated herpesvirus (KSHV) lytic mRNAs lack introns and are exported by the virus-encoded ORF57 protein. Herein we show that ORF57 binds to intronless viral mRNAs and functions to recruit the complete hTREX complex, but not the EJC, in order assemble an export component viral ribonucleoprotein particle (vRNP). The formation of this vRNP is mediated by a direct interaction between ORF57 and the hTREX export adapter protein, Aly. Aly in turn interacts directly with the DEAD-box protein UAP56, which functions as a bridge to recruit the remaining hTREX proteins to the complex. Moreover, we show that a point mutation in ORF57 which disrupts the ORF57-Aly interaction leads to a failure in the ORF57-mediated recruitment of the entire hTREX complex to the intronless viral mRNA and inhibits the mRNAs subsequent nuclear export and virus replication. Furthermore, we have utilised a trans-dominant Aly mutant to prevent the assembly of the complete ORF57-hTREX complex; this results in a vRNP consisting of viral mRNA bound to ORF57, Aly and the nuclear export factor, TAP. Strikingly, although both the export adapter Aly and the export factor TAP were present on the viral mRNP, a dramatic decrease in intronless viral mRNA export and virus replication was observed in the absence of the remaining hTREX components (UAP56 and hTHO-complex). Together, these data provide the first direct evidence that the complete hTREX complex is essential for the export of KSHV intronless mRNAs and infectious virus production.
Author Summary
Following gene expression in the nucleus, newly transcribed messenger RNA (mRNA) is exported to the cytoplasm, where it is translated into protein. In mammals the vast majority of mRNAs contain introns that must be removed by the spliceosome prior to nuclear export. In addition to excising introns, splicing is also essential for the recruitment of a several protein complexes to mRNA, one example being the human transcription/export complex, which is required for mRNA export. Herpesviruses, such as Kaposi's sarcoma–associated herpesvirus, replicate by hijacking components of the host cells biological machinery, including those proteins necessary for mRNA export. An intriguing caveat in herpesvirology is that herpesviruses, such as Kaposi's sarcoma–associated herpesvirus, produce some mRNAs that lack introns and do not undergo splicing. How then are these intronless mRNAs exported to the cytoplasm? The answer lies in a virus protein called ORF57 that is able to bind to the intronless mRNA and then export them to the cytoplasm. ORF57 achieves this function by mimicking splicing and recruiting the human transcription/export complex to the intronless viral mRNA, thus facilitating its export into the cytoplasm.
PMCID: PMC2569588  PMID: 18974867
7.  Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus ORF57 protein interacts with PYM to enhance translation of viral intronless mRNAs 
The EMBO Journal  2010;29(11):1851-1864.
Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) expresses numerous intronless mRNAs that are unable to access splicing-dependent cellular mRNA nuclear export pathways. To circumvent this problem, KSHV encodes the open reading frame 57 (ORF57) protein, which orchestrates the formation of an export-competent virus ribonucleoprotein particle comprising the nuclear export complex hTREX, but not the exon-junction complex (EJC). Interestingly, EJCs stimulate mRNA translation, which raises the intriguing question of how intronless KSHV transcripts are efficiently translated. Herein, we show that ORF57 associates with components of the 48S pre-initiation complex and co-sediments with the 40S ribosomal subunits. Strikingly, we observed a direct interaction between ORF57 and PYM, a cellular protein that enhances translation by recruiting the 48S pre-initiation complex to newly exported mRNAs, through an interaction with the EJC. Moreover, detailed biochemical analysis suggests that ORF57 recruits PYM to intronless KSHV mRNA and PYM then facilitates the association of ORF57 and the cellular translation machinery. We, therefore, propose a model whereby ORF57 interacts directly with PYM to enhance translation of intronless KSHV transcripts.
PMCID: PMC2885933  PMID: 20436455
KSHV; mRNA export; translation
8.  Kaposi's Sarcoma-Associated Herpesvirus Open Reading Frame 57 Encodes a Posttranscriptional Regulator with Multiple Distinct Activities† 
Journal of Virology  2000;74(8):3586-3597.
Open reading frame (ORF) 57 of Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) encodes a homolog of known posttranscriptional regulators that are essential for replication in other herpesviruses. Here, we examined the expression of this gene and the function(s) of its product. KSHV ORF 57 is expressed very early in infection from a 1.6-kb spliced RNA bearing several in-frame initiation codons. Its product is a nuclear protein that, in transient assays, has little effect on the expression of luciferase reporter genes driven by a variety of KSHV and heterologous promoters. However, ORF 57 protein enhances the accumulation of several viral transcripts, in a manner suggesting posttranscriptional regulation. These transcripts include not only known cytoplasmic mRNAs (e.g., ORF 59) but also a nuclear RNA (nut-1) that lacks coding potential. Finally, ORF 57 protein can also modulate the effects of the ORF 50 gene product, a classical transactivator known to be required for lytic induction. The expression from some (e.g., nut-1) but not all (e.g., tk) ORF 50-responsive promoters can be synergistically enhanced by coexpression of ORF 50 and ORF 57. This effect is not due to upregulation of ORF 50 expression but rather to a posttranslational enhancement of the transcriptional activity of ORF 50. These data indicate that ORF 57 is a powerful pleiotropic effector that can act on several posttranscriptional levels to modulate the expression of viral genes in infected cells.
PMCID: PMC111868  PMID: 10729134
9.  Mutation of a C-Terminal Motif Affects Kaposi's Sarcoma-Associated Herpesvirus ORF57 RNA Binding, Nuclear Trafficking, and Multimerization ▿ 
Journal of Virology  2011;85(15):7881-7891.
The Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) ORF57 protein is essential for virus lytic replication. ORF57 regulates virus gene expression at multiple levels, enhancing transcription, stability, nuclear export, and translation of viral transcripts. To enhance the nuclear export of viral intronless transcripts, ORF57 (i) binds viral intronless mRNAs, (ii) shuttles between the nucleus, nucleolus, and the cytoplasm, and (iii) interacts with multiple cellular nuclear export proteins to access the TAP-mediated nuclear export pathway. We investigated the implications on the subcellular trafficking, cellular nuclear export factor recruitment, and ultimately nuclear mRNA export of an ORF57 protein unable to bind RNA. We observed that mutation of a carboxy-terminal RGG motif, which prevents RNA binding, affects the subcellular localization and nuclear trafficking of the ORF57 protein, suggesting that it forms subnuclear aggregates. Further analysis of the mutant shows that although it still retains the ability to interact with cellular nuclear export proteins, it is unable to export viral intronless mRNAs from the nucleus. Moreover, computational molecular modeling and biochemical studies suggest that, unlike the wild-type protein, this mutant is unable to self-associate. Therefore, these results suggest the mutation of a carboxy-terminal RGG motif affects ORF57 RNA binding, nuclear trafficking, and multimerization.
PMCID: PMC3147935  PMID: 21593148
10.  The Kaposi’s Sarcoma-Associated Herpesvirus ORF57 Protein and Its Multiple Roles in mRNA Biogenesis 
Post-transcriptional events which regulate mRNA biogenesis are fundamental to the control of gene expression. A nascent mRNA is therefore steered through multimeric RNA–protein complexes that mediate its capping, splicing, polyadenylation, nuclear export, and ultimately its translation. Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) mRNA transport and accumulation protein, or ORF57, is a functionally conserved protein found in all herpesviruses which plays a pivotal role in enhancing viral gene expression at a post-transcriptional level. As such, ORF57 has been implicated in multiple steps of RNA biogenesis, including augmenting viral splicing, protecting viral RNAs from degradation to enhancing viral mRNA nuclear export and translation. In this review, we highlight the multiple roles of KSHV ORF57 in regulating the post-transcriptional events which are fundamental to the control of virus gene expression.
PMCID: PMC3282479  PMID: 22363332
KSHV; ORF57; mRNA export; mRNA stability
11.  Genome-wide identification of binding sites for Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus lytic switch protein, RTA 
Virology  2009;386(2):290-302.
Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) replication and transcription activator (RTA) encoded by ORF50 is a lytic switch protein for viral reactivation from latency. The expression of RTA activates the expression of downstream viral genes, and is necessary for triggering the full viral lytic program. Using chromatin immunoprecipitation assay coupled with a KSHV whole-genome tiling microarray (ChIP-on-chip) approach, we identified a set of 19 RTA binding sites in the KSHV genome in a KSHV-infected cell line BCBL-1. These binding sites are located in the regions of promoters, introns, or exons of KSHV genes including ORF8, ORFK4.1, ORFK5, PAN, ORF16, ORF29, ORF45, ORF50, ORFK8, ORFK10.1, ORF59, ORFK12, ORF71/72, ORFK14/ORF74, and ORFK15, the two origins of lytic replication OriLyt-L and OriLyt-R, and the microRNA cluster. We confirmed these RTA binding sites by ChIP and quantitative real-time PCR. We further mapped the RTA binding site in the first intron of the ORFK15 gene, and determined that it is RTA-responsive. The ORFK15 RTA binding sequence TTCCAGGAA TTCCTGGAA consists of a palindromic structure of two tandem repeats, of which each itself is also an imperfect inverted repeat. Reporter assay and electrophoretic mobility shift assay confirmed the binding of the RTA protein to this sequence in vitro. Sequence alignment with other RTA binding sites identified the RTA consensus binding motif as TTCCAGGAT(N)0–16TTCCTGGGA. Interestingly, most of the identified RTA binding sites contain only half or part of this RTA binding motif. These results suggest the complexity of RTA binding in vivo, and the involvements of other cellular or viral transcription factors during RTA transactivation of target genes.
PMCID: PMC2663009  PMID: 19233445
12.  Cell-Based Screening Assay for Antiviral Compounds Targeting the Ability of Herpesvirus Posttranscriptional Regulatory Proteins To Stabilize Viral mRNAs 
Journal of Virology  2013;87(19):10742-10751.
Each human herpesvirus expresses a multifunctional regulatory protein that is essential for lytic viral replication. A cell-based assay targeting the function of these proteins was developed based on the finding that Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) SM and Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) ORF57 stabilize specific target mRNAs. Both proteins facilitate the accumulation of lytic transcripts by incompletely characterized posttranscriptional mechanisms. SM and ORF57 exhibit target gene specificity and enhance the accumulation of certain EBV and KSHV mRNAs that are poorly expressed in their absence. Conversely, SM- and ORF57-independent viral and cellular transcripts accumulate efficiently, and their expression does not respond to SM or ORF57. Fusion of an ORF57-responsive transcript to ORF57-independent transcripts demonstrated that ORF57 dependence is cis-dominant. EBV SM also enhanced the accumulation of such fused mRNA transcripts. These data suggest that the coding regions of specific viral transcripts confer instability even when fused to heterologous genes. The findings were used to develop a reporter assay that measures EBV SM function in rescuing the expression of poorly expressed transcripts by posttranscriptional mechanisms. The assay represents a method for the screening of small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) and compounds to investigate the mechanism of action of SM and its homologs and potentially to aid in the discovery of novel antiviral agents.
PMCID: PMC3807395  PMID: 23903829
13.  Herpesvirus Saimiri Episomal Persistence Is Maintained via Interaction between Open Reading Frame 73 and the Cellular Chromosome-Associated Protein MeCP2▿  
Journal of Virology  2007;81(8):4021-4032.
Herpesvirus saimiri (HVS) is the prototype gamma-2 herpesvirus, which naturally infects the squirrel monkey Saimiri sciureus, causing an asymptomatic but persistent infection. The latent phase of gamma-2 herpesviruses is characterized by their ability to persist in a dividing cell population while expressing a limited subset of latency-associated genes. In HVS only three genes, open reading frame 71 (ORF71), ORF72, and ORF73, are expressed from a polycistronic mRNA. ORF73 has been shown to be the only gene essential for HVS episomal maintenance and can therefore be functionally compared to the human gammaherpesvirus latency-associated proteins, EBNA-1 and Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) latency-associated nuclear antigen (LANA). HVS ORF73 is the positional homologue of KSHV LANA and, although it shares limited sequence homology, has significant structural and functional similarities. Investigation of KSHV LANA has demonstrated that it is able to mediate KSHV episomal persistence by tethering the KSHV episome to host mitotic chromosomes via interactions with cellular chromosome-associated proteins. These include associations with core and linker histones, several bromodomain proteins, and the chromosome-associated proteins methyl CpG binding protein 2 (MeCP2) and DEK. Here we show that HVS ORF73 associates with MeCP2 via a 72-amino-acid domain within the ORF73 C terminus. Furthermore, we have assessed the functional significance of this interaction, using a variety of techniques including small hairpin RNA knockdown, and show that association between ORF73 and MeCP2 is essential for HVS chromosomal attachment and episomal persistence.
PMCID: PMC1866103  PMID: 17267510
14.  Acetylation of the Latency-Associated Nuclear Antigen Regulates Repression of Kaposi's Sarcoma-Associated Herpesvirus Lytic Transcription 
Journal of Virology  2006;80(11):5273-5282.
Reactivation of the Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) lytic cycle can be initiated by transcription activation of the ORF50 immediate early gene (Rta). We show that ORF50 transcription is actively repressed by the KSHV latency-associated nuclear antigen (LANA) during latency. Depletion of LANA by small interfering RNA derepressed ORF50 transcription in the latently infected BCBL1 pleural effusion lymphoma-derived cell line. In contrast, overexpression of LANA suppressed ORF50 mRNA levels in BCBL1 cells. ORF50 transcription was significantly elevated during primary infection with recombinant virus lacking LANA, further indicating that LANA plays a role in lytic gene silencing during the establishment of latency. Chromatin immunoprecipitation assays indicated that LANA interacts with the ORF50 promoter region in latently infected cells. Histone deacetylase inhibitors, including sodium butyrate (NaB) and trichostatin A, caused the rapid dissociation of LANA from the ORF50 promoter. NaB treatment of latently infected BCBL1 cells disrupted a stable interaction between LANA and the cellular proteins Sp1 and histone H2B. We also found immunological and radiochemical evidence that LANA is subject to lysine acetylation after NaB treatment. These findings support the role of LANA as a transcriptional repressor of lytic reactivation and provide evidence that lysine acetylation regulates LANA interactions with chromatin, Sp1, and ORF50 promoter DNA.
PMCID: PMC1472144  PMID: 16699007
15.  Dual Short Upstream Open Reading Frames Control Translation of a Herpesviral Polycistronic mRNA 
PLoS Pathogens  2013;9(1):e1003156.
The Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) protein kinase, encoded by ORF36, functions to phosphorylate cellular and viral targets important in the KSHV lifecycle and to activate the anti-viral prodrug ganciclovir. Unlike the vast majority of mapped KSHV genes, no viral transcript has been identified with ORF36 positioned as the 5′-proximal gene. Here we report that ORF36 is robustly translated as a downstream cistron from the ORF35–37 polycistronic transcript in a cap-dependent manner. We identified two short, upstream open reading frames (uORFs) within the 5′ UTR of the polycistronic mRNA. While both uORFs function as negative regulators of ORF35, unexpectedly, the second allows for the translation of the downstream ORF36 gene by a termination-reinitiation mechanism. Positional conservation of uORFs within a number of related viruses suggests that this may be a common γ-herpesviral adaptation of a host translational regulatory mechanism.
Author Summary
Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) is the etiologic agent of multicentric Castleman's disease, primary effusion lymphoma and Kaposi's sarcoma. KSHV expresses a number of transcripts with the potential to generate multiple proteins, yet relies on the cellular translation machinery that is primed to synthesize only one protein per mRNA. Here we report that the viral transcript encompassing ORF35–37 is able to direct synthesis of two proteins and that the translational switch is regulated by two short upstream open reading frames (uORFs) in the native 5′ untranslated region. uORFs are elements commonly found upstream of mammalian genes that function to interfere with unrestrained ribosomal scanning and thus repress translation of the major ORF. The sequence of the viral uORF appears unimportant, and instead functions to position the translation machinery in a location that favors translation of the downstream major ORF, via a reinitiation mechanism. Thus, KSHV uses a host strategy generally reserved to repress translation to instead allow for the expression of an internal gene.
PMCID: PMC3561293  PMID: 23382684
16.  Targeted Disruption of Kaposi's Sarcoma-Associated Herpesvirus ORF57 in the Viral Genome Is Detrimental for the Expression of ORF59, K8α, and K8.1 and the Production of Infectious Virus▿  
Journal of Virology  2006;81(3):1062-1071.
Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) ORF57 regulates viral gene expression at the posttranscriptional level during viral lytic infection. To study its function in the context of the viral genome, we disrupted KSHV ORF57 in the KSHV genome by transposon-based mutagenesis. The insertion of the transposon into the ORF57 exon 2 region also interrupted the 3′ untranslated region of KSHV ORF56, which overlaps with the ORF57 coding region. The disrupted viral genome, Bac36-Δ57, did not express ORF57, ORF59, K8α, K8.1, or a higher level of polyadenylated nuclear RNA after butyrate induction and could not be induced to produce infectious viruses in the presence of valproic acid, a histone deacetylase inhibitor and a novel KSHV lytic cycle inducer. The ectopic expression of ORF57 partially complemented the replication deficiency of the disrupted KSHV genome and the expression of the lytic gene ORF59. The induced production of infectious virus particles from the disrupted KSHV genome was also substantially restored by the simultaneous expression of both ORF57 and ORF56; complementation by ORF57 alone only partially restored the production of virus, and expression of ORF56 alone showed no effect. Altogether, our data indicate that in the context of the viral genome, KSHV ORF57 is essential for ORF59, K8α, and K8.1 expression and infectious virus production.
PMCID: PMC1797518  PMID: 17108026
17.  Binding of Cellular Export Factor REF/Aly by Kaposi's Sarcoma-Associated Herpesvirus (KSHV) ORF57 Protein Is Not Required for Efficient KSHV Lytic Replication 
Journal of Virology  2012;86(18):9866-9874.
Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) ORF57 protein is expressed early during lytic KSHV replication, enhances expression of many KSHV genes, and is essential for virus production. ORF57 is a member of a family of proteins conserved among all human and many animal herpesviruses that are multifunctional regulators of gene expression and act posttranscriptionally to increase accumulation of their target mRNAs. The mechanism of ORF57 action is complex and may involve effects on mRNA transcription, stability, and export. ORF57 directly binds to REF/Aly, a cellular RNA-binding protein component of the TREX complex that mediates RNA transcription and export. We analyzed the effects of an ORF57 mutation known to abrogate REF/Aly binding and demonstrate that the REF-binding mutant is impaired in activation of viral mRNAs and noncoding RNAs confined to the nucleus. Although the inability to bind REF leads to decreased ORF57 activity in enhancing gene expression, there is no demonstrable effect on nuclear export of viral mRNA or the ability of ORF57 to support KSHV replication and virus production. These data indicate that REF/Aly-ORF57 interaction is not essential for KSHV lytic replication but may contribute to target RNA stability independent of effects on RNA export, suggesting a novel role for REF/Aly in viral RNA metabolism.
PMCID: PMC3446620  PMID: 22761374
18.  Kaposi's Sarcoma-Associated Herpesvirus ORF57 Protein Enhances mRNA Accumulation Independently of Effects on Nuclear RNA Export▿  
Journal of Virology  2007;81(18):9990-9998.
The ORF57 protein expressed by Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) during lytic replication is essential for KSHV virion production. ORF57 enhances gene expression by increasing accumulation of target gene mRNAs. ORF57 interacts with the cellular export factor REF and with RNA, suggesting that it may provide target mRNAs with access to REF, which mediates nuclear RNA export by binding to TAP/NXF1. A mutational analysis of ORF57 was performed to study the role of REF binding, RNA interaction, and multimerization in ORF57 function. ORF57 was shown to directly bind RNA. The ability to bind REF did not correlate with ORF57 function in enhancing mRNA accumulation. ORF57 enhanced the nuclear levels of mRNA and PAN, a nuclear KSHV RNA, and the activity of various ORF57 mutants on the levels of mRNA paralleled their ability to enhance nuclear PAN accumulation, suggesting that ORF57 may also act on messenger RNAs by export-independent effects on RNA stability. Finally, an ORF57 mutant lacking a region homologous to a nucleolar localization signal in herpesvirus saimiri was constructed. This mutant retained function, demonstrating that, unlike the ORF57 homolog in herpesvirus saimiri, nucleolar trafficking is not required for ORF57 function in enhancing mRNA accumulation.
PMCID: PMC2045429  PMID: 17609285
19.  Kaposi's Sarcoma-Associated Herpesvirus ORF57 Is Not a Bona Fide Export Factor 
Journal of Virology  2012;86(23):13089-13094.
Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV [human herpesvirus 8; HHV-8]) open reading frame 57 (ORF57) is a viral early protein participating in posttranscriptional regulatory events, such as splicing, RNA stabilization, and protein expression. Recent data suggest that ORF57 recruits the transcription and export (TREX) complex to viral RNA and exports these transcripts to the cytoplasm. In this study, we show that although ORF57 promotes expression of a selection of KSHV viral intronless RNAs, it is not a bona fide export factor.
PMCID: PMC3497679  PMID: 22993146
20.  Kaposi's Sarcoma-Associated Herpesvirus ORF57 Promotes Escape of Viral and Human Interleukin-6 from MicroRNA-Mediated Suppression▿ †  
Journal of Virology  2011;85(6):2620-2630.
Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) lytic infection increases the expression of viral and human interleukin-6 (vIL-6 and hIL-6, respectively), an important factor for cell growth and pathogenesis. Here, we report genome-wide analysis of viral RNA targets of KSHV ORF57 by a novel UV-cross-linking and immunoprecipitation (CLIP) assay. We identified 11 viral transcripts as putative ORF57 targets and demonstrate that vIL-6 mRNA is an authentic target of ORF57. Disrupting the ORF57 gene in the KSHV genome leads to inefficient expression of vIL-6. With transient transfection, the expression of vIL-6 could be enhanced greatly in the presence of ORF57 in a dose-dependent manner. We found that the open reading frame (ORF) region of vIL-6 RNA contains an MRE (MTA [ORF57]-responsive element) composed of two motifs, MRE-A and MRE-B, and binding of ORF57 to these two motifs stabilizes vIL-6 RNA and promotes vIL-6 translation. We demonstrate that vIL-6 MRE-B bears an miR-1293 binding site and that, mechanistically, ORF57 competes with miR-1293 for the same binding site to interact with vIL-6 RNA, thereby preventing vIL-6 RNA from association with the miR-1293-specified RNA-induced silencing complex (RISC). Consistent with this, ORF57 also interacts with an miR-608 binding site in the hIL-6 ORF and prevents miR-608 repression of hIL-6. Collectively, our results identify a novel function of ORF57 in being responsible for stabilization of viral and human IL-6 RNAs and the corresponding enhancement of RNA translation. In addition, our data provide the first evidence that a tumor virus may use a viral protein to interfere with microRNA (miRNA)-mediated repression of an miRNA target to induce cell proliferation and tumorigenesis during virus infection.
PMCID: PMC3067933  PMID: 21209110
21.  Activation of the Kaposi's Sarcoma-Associated Herpesvirus Major Latency Locus by the Lytic Switch Protein RTA (ORF50) 
Journal of Virology  2005;79(13):8493-8505.
Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) maintains a latent infection in primary effusion lymphoma cells but can be induced to enter full lytic replication by exposure to a variety of chemical inducing agents or by expression of the KSHV-encoded replication and transcription activator (RTA) protein. During latency, only a few viral genes are expressed, and these include the three genes of the so-called latency transcript (LT) cluster: v-FLIP (open reading frame 71 [ORF71]), v-cyclin (ORF72), and latency-associated nuclear antigen (ORF73). During latency, all three open reading frames are transcribed from a common promoter as part of a multicistronic mRNA. Subsequent alternative mRNA splicing and internal ribosome entry allows for the expression of each protein. Here, we show that transcription of LT cassette mRNA can be induced by RTA through the activation of a second promoter (LTi) immediately downstream of the constitutively active promoter (LTc). We identified a minimal cis-regulatory region, which overlaps with the promoter for the bicistronic K14/v-GPCR delayed early gene that is transcribed in the opposite direction. In addition to a TATA box at −30 relative to the LTi mRNA start sites, we identified three separate RTA response elements that are also utilized by the K14/v-GPCR promoter. Interestingly, LTi is unresponsive to sodium butyrate, a potent inducer of lytic replication. This suggests there is a previously unrecognized class of RTA-responsive promoters that respond to direct, but not indirect, induction of RTA. These studies highlight the fact that induction method can influence the precise program of viral gene expression during early events in reactivation and also suggest a mechanism by which RTA contributes to establishment of latency during de novo infections.
PMCID: PMC1143749  PMID: 15956592
22.  Kaposi's Sarcoma-Associated Herpesvirus K8β Is Derived from a Spliced Intermediate of K8 Pre-mRNA and Antagonizes K8α (K-bZIP) To Induce p21 and p53 and Blocks K8α-CDK2 Interaction 
Journal of Virology  2005;79(22):14207-14221.
Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) is a lymphotropic DNA tumor virus that induces Kaposi's sarcoma and AIDS-related primary effusion lymphoma. KSHV open reading frame 50 and K8 genes in early viral lytic infection express, respectively, a tricistronic and a bicistronic pre-mRNA, which undergo alternative splicing to create two major spliced mRNA isoforms, α and β, by inclusion (β) or exclusion (α) of an intron at nucleotides 75563 to 75645. This intron contains some suboptimal features, which cause the intron 5′ splice site (ss) to interact weakly with U1 snRNA and the 3′ ss to bind a U2 auxiliary factor, U2AF, with low affinity. Optimization of this intron in K8 (K8 intron 2) promoted the interaction of the 5′ ss with U1 and the 3′ ss with U2AF, resulting in a substantial increase in intron splicing. Splicing of K8 intron 2 has also been shown to be stimulated by the splicing of a downstream intron. This was confirmed by the insertion of a human β-globin intron into the K8β exon 3-exon 4 splice junction, which promoted splicing of K8β intron 2 and conversion of the K8β mRNA to the K8α mRNA that encodes a K-bZIP protein. Intron 2 contains a premature termination codon, yet the K8β mRNA is insensitive to nonsense-mediated mRNA decay, suggesting that the truncated K8β protein may have a biological function. Indeed, although the truncated K8β protein is missing only a C-terminal leucine zipper domain from the K-bZIP, its expression antagonizes the ability of the K-bZIP to induce p53 and p21 and blocks K-bZIP-CDK2 interaction through interfering K8α mRNA production.
PMCID: PMC1280184  PMID: 16254356
23.  Kaposi's Sarcoma-Associated Herpesvirus ORF57 Interacts with Cellular RNA Export Cofactors RBM15 and OTT3 To Promote Expression of Viral ORF59 ▿ †  
Journal of Virology  2010;85(4):1528-1540.
Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) encodes ORF57, which promotes the accumulation of specific KSHV mRNA targets, including ORF59 mRNA. We report that the cellular export NXF1 cofactors RBM15 and OTT3 participate in ORF57-enhanced expression of KSHV ORF59. We also found that ectopic expression of RBM15 or OTT3 augments ORF59 production in the absence of ORF57. While RBM15 promotes the accumulation of ORF59 RNA predominantly in the nucleus compared to the levels in the cytoplasm, we found that ORF57 shifted the nucleocytoplasmic balance by increasing ORF59 RNA accumulation in the cytoplasm more than in the nucleus. By promoting the accumulation of cytoplasmic ORF59 RNA, ORF57 offsets the nuclear RNA accumulation mediated by RBM15 by preventing nuclear ORF59 RNA from hyperpolyadenylation. ORF57 interacts directly with the RBM15 C-terminal portion containing the SPOC domain to reduce RBM15 binding to ORF59 RNA. Although ORF57 homologs Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) EB2, herpes simplex virus (HSV) ICP27, varicella-zoster virus (VZV) IE4/ORF4, and cytomegalovirus (CMV) UL69 also interact with RBM15 and OTT3, EBV EB2, which also promotes ORF59 expression, does not function like KSHV ORF57 to efficiently prevent RBM15-mediated nuclear accumulation of ORF59 RNA and RBM15's association with polyadenylated RNAs. Collectively, our data provide novel insight elucidating a molecular mechanism by which ORF57 promotes the expression of viral intronless genes.
PMCID: PMC3028919  PMID: 21106733
24.  Octamer-Binding Sequence Is a Key Element for the Autoregulation of Kaposi's Sarcoma-Associated Herpesvirus ORF50/Lyta Gene Expression 
Journal of Virology  2001;75(15):6894-6900.
The expression of the Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) open reading frame 50 (ORF50) protein, Lyta (lytic transactivator), marks the switch from latent KSHV infection to the lytic phase. ORF50/Lyta upregulates several target KSHV genes, such as K8 (K-bZip), K9 (vIRF1), and ORF57, finally leading to the production of mature viruses. The auto-upregulation of ORF50/Lyta is thought to be an important mechanism for efficient lytic viral replication. In this study, we focused on this autoregulation and identified the promoter element required for it. An electrophoretic mobility shift assay indicated that the octamer-binding protein 1 (Oct-1) bound to this element. Mutations in the octamer-binding motif resulted in refractoriness of the ORF50/Lyta promoter to transactivation by ORF50/Lyta, and Oct-1 expression enhanced this transactivation. These results suggest that the autoregulation of ORF50/Lyta is mediated by Oct-1.
PMCID: PMC114417  PMID: 11435569
25.  The Herpesvirus Saimiri Open Reading Frame 73 Gene Product Interacts with the Cellular Protein p32 
Journal of Virology  2002;76(22):11612-11622.
The role of the gamma-2 herpesvirus open reading frame (ORF) 73 gene product has become the focus of considerable interest. It has recently been shown that the Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) latency-associated nuclear antigen (LANA) is expressed during a latent infection and can modulate both viral and cellular gene expression. The herpesvirus saimiri (HVS) ORF 73 gene product has some sequence homology to LANA; however, the role of HVS ORF 73 is unknown. We have previously demonstrated that HVS ORF73 is expressed in a stably transduced human carcinoma cell line, where HVS genomes persist as nonintegrated circular episomes. This implies that there may be some functional homology between these proteins. To further investigate the role of the HVS ORF 73 protein, the yeast two-hybrid system was employed to identify interacting cellular proteins. We demonstrate that ORF 73 interacts with the cellular protein p32 and triggers the accumulation of p32 in the nucleus. Using reporter gene-based transient-transfection assays, we demonstrate that ORF 73 can transactivate a number of heterologous promoter constructs and also upregulate its own promoter. Moreover, ORF 73 and p32 act synergistically to transactivate these promoters. The binding of ORF 73 to p32 is mediated by an amino-terminal arginine-rich domain, which contains two functionally distinct nuclear localization signals. The p32 binding domains are required for ORF 73 transactivating abilities and for ORF 73 to induce nuclear accumulation of p32. These results suggest that ORF 73 can function as a regulator of gene expression and that p32 is involved in ORF 73-dependent transcriptional activation.
PMCID: PMC136780  PMID: 12388722

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