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.
Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus; Gene expression; ORF57; RNA splicing; Post-transcriptional regulation; Protein-RNA interaction; RNA export; Review
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.
KSHV; long non-coding RNA; ORF57; PAN; RNA stability; RNA accumulation; PABPC1; E1B-AP5
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
KSHV; mRNA export; translation
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.
Six predicted Kaposi's sarcoma virus herpesvirus (KSHV) proteins have homology with other well-characterized herpesvirus core DNA replication proteins and are expected to be essential for viral DNA synthesis. Intact Flag-tagged protein products from all six were produced from genomic expression vectors, although the ORF40/41 transcript encoding a primase-helicase component proved to be spliced with a 127-bp intron. The intracellular localization of these six KSHV replication proteins and the mechanism of their nuclear translocation were investigated. SSB (single-stranded DNA binding protein, ORF6) and PPF (polymerase processivity factor, ORF59) were found to be intrinsic nuclear proteins, whereas POL (polymerase, ORF9), which localized in the cytoplasm on its own, was translocated to the nucleus when cotransfected with PPF. PAF (primase-associated factor, ORF40/41), a component of the primase-helicase tripartite subcomplex together with PRI (primase, ORF56) and HEL (helicase, ORF44), required the presence of all five other replication proteins for efficient nuclear translocation. Surprisingly, even in the absence of a lytic cycle replication origin (ori-Lyt) and any known initiator or origin binding protein, the protein products of all six KSHV core replication genes cooperated in a transient cotransfection assay to form large globular shaped pseudo-replication compartments (pseudo-RC), which excluded cellular DNA. These pseudo-RC structures were confirmed to include POL, SSB, PRI, and PAF but did not contain any newly synthesized DNA. Similar to the human cytomegalovirus system, the peripheries of these KSHV pre-RC were also found to be surrounded by punctate PML oncogenic domains (PODs). Furthermore, by transient cotransfection, the six KSHV core replication machinery proteins successfully replicated a plasmid containing EBV ori-Lyt in the presence of the Epstein-Barr virus-encoded DNA binding initiator protein, ZTA. The KSHV-encoded K8 (ORF-K8) protein, which is a distant evolutionary homologue to ZTA, was incorporated into pseudo-RC structures formed by transient cotransfection with the six core KSHV replication genes. However, unlike ZTA, K8 displayed a punctate nuclear pattern both in transfected cells and at early stages of lytic infection and colocalized with the cellular PML proteins in PODs. Finally, K8 was also found to accumulate in functional viral RC, detected by incorporation of pulse-labeled bromodeoxyuridine into newly synthesized DNA in both tetradecanoyl phorbol acetate-induced JSC-1 primary effusion lymphoblasts and in KSHV lytically infected endothelial cells.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
KSHV; ORF57; mRNA export; mRNA stability
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.
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.
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.
The hTREX complex mediates cellular bulk mRNA nuclear export by recruiting the nuclear export factor, TAP, via a direct interaction with the export adaptor, Aly. Intriguingly however, depletion of Aly only leads to a modest reduction in cellular mRNA nuclear export, suggesting the existence of additional mRNA nuclear export adaptor proteins. In order to efficiently export Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) intronless mRNAs from the nucleus, the KSHV ORF57 protein recruits hTREX onto viral intronless mRNAs allowing access to the TAP-mediated export pathway. Similarly however, depletion of Aly only leads to a modest reduction in the nuclear export of KSHV intronless mRNAs. Herein, we identify a novel interaction between ORF57 and the cellular protein, UIF. We provide the first evidence that the ORF57-UIF interaction enables the recruitment of hTREX and TAP to KSHV intronless mRNAs in Aly-depleted cells. Strikingly, depletion of both Aly and UIF inhibits the formation of an ORF57-mediated nuclear export competent ribonucleoprotein particle and consequently prevents ORF57-mediated mRNA nuclear export and KSHV protein production. Importantly, these findings highlight that redundancy exists in the eukaryotic system for certain hTREX components involved in the mRNA nuclear export of intronless KSHV mRNAs.
Herpesviruses hijack cellular components to enhance viral gene expression. This is particularly important for the efficient nuclear export of herpesvirus intronless mRNAs to allow the production of viral proteins. We have previously demonstrated that Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus encodes a conserved protein, ORF57, which recruits essential cellular mRNA export proteins onto the viral intronless mRNAs to form an export competent viral ribonucleoprotein particle. Specifically, we have shown that ORF57 interacts directly with the cellular export adaptor protein, Aly, to recruit other cellular mRNA export proteins. Surprisingly however, depletion of Aly has a limited effect on both cellular and viral mRNA nuclear export levels, suggesting a degree of redundancy in the export pathways and the existence of other export adaptor proteins. Here we have identified a novel interaction between ORF57 and a second export adaptor protein, UIF. We show for the first time that the ORF57-UIF interaction allows the recruitment of the essential cellular mRNA export proteins onto viral intronless mRNA, in cells lacking Aly. However, depletion of both Aly and UIF prevents the formation of an export competent viral ribonucleoprotein particle, suggesting that either Aly or UIF must be present for efficient KSHV intronless mRNA nuclear export and protein production.
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.
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.
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.
Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV; also known as human herpesvirus-8) establishes latent and lytic infections in both lymphoid and endothelial cells and has been associated with diseases of both cell types. The KSHV open reading frame 50 (ORF50) protein is a transcriptional activator that plays a central role in the reactivation of lytic viral replication from latency. Here we identify and characterize a DNA binding site for the ORF50 protein that is shared by the promoters of two delayed early genes (ORF57 and K-bZIP). Transfer of this element to heterologous promoters confers on them high-level responsiveness to ORF50, indicating that the element is both necessary and sufficient for activation. The element consists of a conserved 12-bp palindromic sequence and less conserved sequences immediately 3′ to it. Mutational analysis reveals that sequences within the palindrome are critical for binding and activation by ORF50, but the presence of a palindrome itself is not absolutely required. The 3′ flanking sequences also play a critical role in DNA binding and transactivation. The strong concordance of DNA binding in vitro with transcriptional activation in vivo strongly implies that sequence-specific DNA binding is necessary for ORF50-mediated activation through this element. Expression of truncated versions of the ORF50 protein reveals that DNA binding is mediated by the amino-terminal 272 amino acids of the polypeptide.
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.
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.
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.