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1.  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
2.  Kaposi's Sarcoma-Associated Herpesvirus ORF57 Protein Binds and Protects a Nuclear Noncoding RNA from Cellular RNA Decay Pathways 
PLoS Pathogens  2010;6(3):e1000799.
The control of RNA stability is a key determinant in cellular gene expression. The stability of any transcript is modulated through the activity of cis- or trans-acting regulatory factors as well as cellular quality control systems that ensure the integrity of a transcript. As a result, invading viral pathogens must be able to subvert cellular RNA decay pathways capable of destroying viral transcripts. Here we report that the Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) ORF57 protein binds to a unique KSHV polyadenylated nuclear RNA, called PAN RNA, and protects it from degradation by cellular factors. ORF57 increases PAN RNA levels and its effects are greatest on unstable alleles of PAN RNA. Kinetic analysis of transcription pulse assays shows that ORF57 protects PAN RNA from a rapid cellular RNA decay process, but ORF57 has little effect on transcription or PAN RNA localization based on chromatin immunoprecipitation and in situ hybridization experiments, respectively. Using a UV cross-linking technique, we further demonstrate that ORF57 binds PAN RNA directly in living cells and we show that binding correlates with function. In addition, we define an ORF57-responsive element (ORE) that is necessary for ORF57 binding to PAN RNA and sufficient to confer ORF57-response to a heterologous intronless β-globin mRNA, but not its spliced counterparts. We conclude that ORF57 binds to viral transcripts in the nucleus and protects them from a cellular RNA decay pathway. We propose that KSHV ORF57 protein functions to enhance the nuclear stability of intronless viral transcripts by protecting them from a cellular RNA quality control pathway.
Author Summary
In order to replicate efficiently, a virus must ensure that its genes are properly expressed in the context of an infected host cell. Recent work has demonstrated that eukaryotic cells have RNA quality control pathways that degrade improperly processed, aberrant RNAs. Our published findings using an unusual Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) nuclear RNA, called PAN RNA, have suggested that intronless polyadenylated transcripts are subject to such a quality control system. Because most KSHV genes lack introns, we hypothesized that KSHV must have evolved mechanisms that bypass this quality control system. In support of this idea, we show that the ORF57 protein, a multifunctional enhancer of KSHV gene expression, binds to and stabilizes PAN RNA. We further define an element called the ORF57-responsive element (ORE) in PAN RNA that is necessary for ORF57-binding and activity on PAN RNA. In addition, we show that the ORE is sufficient to confer ORF57-responsiveness to a heterologous intronless mRNA, but not its spliced counterpart. These observations substantiate the model that ORF57 enhances KSHV gene expression by protecting viral transcripts from host RNA surveillance pathways. More broadly, these data suggest that viruses producing intronless nuclear RNAs require mechanisms to evade host quality control mechanisms.
PMCID: PMC2832700  PMID: 20221435
3.  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
4.  An Interaction between KSHV ORF57 and UIF Provides mRNA-Adaptor Redundancy in Herpesvirus Intronless mRNA Export 
PLoS Pathogens  2011;7(7):e1002138.
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.
Author Summary
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.
PMCID: PMC3141038  PMID: 21814512
5.  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
6.  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
7.  Origin-Independent Assembly of Kaposi's Sarcoma-Associated Herpesvirus DNA Replication Compartments in Transient Cotransfection Assays and Association with the ORF-K8 Protein and Cellular PML 
Journal of Virology  2001;75(3):1487-1506.
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.
PMCID: PMC114054  PMID: 11152521
8.  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
9.  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
10.  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
11.  The 222- to 234-kilodalton latent nuclear protein (LNA) of Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (human herpesvirus 8) is encoded by orf73 and is a component of the latency-associated nuclear antigen. 
Journal of Virology  1997;71(8):5915-5921.
Kaposi's sarcoma (KS)-associated herpesvirus or human herpesvirus 8 (KSHV/HHV8) is the likely cause of KS and primary effusion lymphomas or body cavity-based lymphomas (BCBLs). A latency-associated nuclear immunofluorescence antigen (LANA) (D. H. Kedes, E. Operskalski, M. Busch, R. Kohn, J. Flood, and D. Ganem, Nat. Med. 2:918-924, 1996; S. J. Gao, L. Kingsley, M. Li, W. Zheng, C. Parravicini, J. Ziegler, R. Newton, C. R. Rinaldo, A. Saah, J. Phair, R. Detels, Y. Chang, and P. S. Moore, Nat. Med. 2:925-928, 1996) and a 222- to 234-kDa nuclear protein (LNA) (S. J. Gao, L. Kingsley, D. R. Hoover, T. J. Spira, C. R. Rinaldo, A. Saah, J. Phair, R. Detels, P. Parry, Y. Chang, and P. S. Moore, N. Engl. J. Med. 335:233-241, 1996) have previously been described in BCBL cell lines by immunofluorescence and Western blotting techniques, respectively. To identify the viral gene(s) encoding this antigen(s) we screened a cDNA library from HBL-6 cells, a B-cell lymphoma cell line persistently infected with KSHV/HHV8, with KS patient sera. One set of positive clones contained the 3' end of orf73, as well as the complete orf72 and orfK13, and another set contained the 5' end of orf73. Comparison of cDNA sequences with the KSHV/HHV8 genomic sequence revealed a splice event, occurring upstream of orf73. Immunoaffinity purified antibodies to a recombinant carboxy-terminal fragment of the orf73-encoded protein showed the characteristic speckled nuclear immunofluorescence pattern of LANA and reacted with the 222- to 234-kDa LNA on Western blots. Expression of full-length orf73 in bacteria and COS7 cells reproduced the LNA banding pattern. Immunohistochemistry on cases of nodular KS revealed that orf73/LNA is expressed in the nucleus of KS spindle cells. These findings demonstrate that orf73 encodes the 222- to 234-kDa LNA, is a component of LANA, and is expressed in KS tumor cells.
PMCID: PMC191847  PMID: 9223481
12.  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
13.  Patterns of Gene Expression and a Transactivation Function Exhibited by the vGCR (ORF74) Chemokine Receptor Protein of Kaposi's Sarcoma-Associated Herpesvirus 
Journal of Virology  2002;76(7):3421-3439.
The ORF74 or vGCR gene encoded by Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV; also called human herpesvirus 8) has properties of a ligand-independent membrane receptor signaling protein with angiogenic properties that is predicted to play a key role in the biology of the virus. We have examined the expression of vGCR mRNA and protein in primary effusion lymphoma (PEL) cell lines, PEL and multicentric Castleman's disease (MCD) tumors, Kaposi's sarcoma lesions and infected endothelial cell cultures. The vGCR gene proved to be expressed in PEL cell lines as a large spliced bicistronic mRNA of 3.2 kb that also encompasses the upstream vOX2 (K14) gene. This mRNA species was induced strongly by phorbol ester (TPA) and sodium butyrate treatment in the BCBL-1 cell line, but only weakly in the HBL6 cell line, and was classified as a relatively late and low-abundance delayed early class lytic cycle gene product. A complex bipartite upstream lytic cycle promoter for this mRNA was nestled within the intron of the 5′-overlapping but oppositely oriented latent-state transcription unit for LANA1/vCYC-D/vFLIP and responded strongly to both TPA induction and cotransfection with the KSHV RNA transactivator protein (RTA or ORF50) in transient reporter gene assays. A vGCR protein product of 45 kDa that readily dimerized was detected by Western blotting and in vitro translation and was localized in a cytoplasmic and membrane pattern in DNA-transfected Vero and 293T cells or adenovirus vGCR-transduced dermal microvascular endothelial cells (DMVEC) as detected by indirect immunofluorescence assay (IFA) and immunohistochemistry with a specific rabbit anti-vGCR antibody. Similarly, a subfraction of KSHV-positive cultured PEL cells and of KSHV (JSC-1) persistently infected DMVEC cells displayed cytoplasmic vGCR protein expression, but only after TPA or spontaneous lytic cycle induction, respectively. The vGCR protein was also detectable by immunohistochemical staining in a small fraction (0.5 to 3%) of the cells in PEL and MCD tumor and nodular Kaposi's sarcoma lesion specimens that were apparently undergoing lytic cycle expression. These properties are difficult to reconcile with the vGCR protein's playing a direct role in spindle cell proliferation, transformation, or latency, but could be compatible with proposed contributions to angiogenesis via downstream paracrine effects. The ability of vGCR to transactivate expression of both several KSHV promoter-driven luciferase (LUC) reporter genes and an NFκB motif containing the chloramphenicol acetyltransferase (CAT) reporter gene may also suggest an unexpected regulatory role in viral gene expression.
PMCID: PMC136009  PMID: 11884567
14.  Kaposi's Sarcoma-Associated Herpesvirus K-bZIP Protein Is Necessary for Lytic Viral Gene Expression, DNA Replication, and Virion Production in Primary Effusion Lymphoma Cell Lines▿ †  
Journal of Virology  2009;83(11):5869-5880.
Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) is the causative agent of three human proliferative disorders, namely, Kaposi's sarcoma, primary effusion lymphomas (PEL), and multicentric Castleman's disease. Lytic DNA replication of KSHV, which is essential for viral propagation, requires the binding of at least two KSHV proteins, replication and transactivation activator (RTA) and K-bZIP, on the lytic origin of replication. Moreover, K-bZIP physically interacts with RTA and represses its transactivation activity on several viral promoters in transient transfection assays. To evaluate the physiological roles of K-bZIP in the context of PEL, we generated BCBL-1 cells with a tetracycline (Tet)-inducible small hairpin RNA (shRNA) directed against the K8 mRNA to knock down K-bZIP expression at different points during KSHV's life cycle. Using this model, we demonstrate that in the absence of K-bZIP expression, dramatic decreases in orf50, orf57, and orf26 transcript expression are observed. Similar effects were seen at the protein level for RTA (immediate-early protein) and K8.1 (late protein) expression. Interestingly, a direct correlation between K-bZIP levels and viral lytic mRNAs was noticed. As a consequence of K-bZIP knockdown, viral DNA replication and virion production were severely impaired. The same effects were observed following knockdown of K-bZIP in another PEL cell line, BC3. Finally, using shRNA-K8-inducible 293 cells, we report that de novo synthesis of K-bZIP is not necessary for initiation of infection and latency establishment. These data support the concept that K-bZIP is essential for lytic viral gene expression, viral DNA replication, and virus propagation in PEL cells.
PMCID: PMC2681977  PMID: 19321621
15.  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
16.  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
17.  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
18.  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
19.  Kaposi's Sarcoma-Associated Herpesvirus K-bZIP Is a Coregulator of K-Rta: Physical Association and Promoter-Dependent Transcriptional Repression 
Journal of Virology  2003;77(2):1441-1451.
Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) is a human gammaherpesvirus that has been implicated in the pathogenesis of Kaposi's sarcoma and B-cell neoplasms. The genomic organization of KSHV is similar to that of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). EBV encodes two transcriptional factors, Rta and Zta, which functionally interact to transactivate EBV genes during replication and reactivation from latency. KSHV encodes a basic leucine zipper protein (K-bZIP), a homologue of EBV Zta, and K-Rta, the homologue of EBV Rta. EBV Rta and Zta are strong transcriptional transactivators. Although there is ample evidence that K-Rta is a potent transactivator, the role of K-bZIP as a transcriptional factor is much less clear. In this study, we report that K-bZIP modulates K-Rta function. We show that K-bZIP directly interacts with K-Rta in vivo and in vitro. This association is specific, requiring the basic domain (amino acids 122 to 189) of K-bZIP and a specific region (amino acids 499 to 550) of K-Rta, and can be detected with K-bZIP and K-Rta endogenously expressed in BCBL-1 cells treated with tetradecanoyl phorbol acetate. The functional relevance of this association was revealed by the observation that K-bZIP represses the transactivation of the ORF57 promoter by K-Rta in a dose-dependent manner. K-bZIP lacking the interaction domain fails to repress K-Rta-mediated transactivation; this finding attests to the specificity of the repression. Interestingly, this repression is not observed for the promoter of polyadenylated nuclear (PAN) RNA, another target of K-Rta; thus, repression is promoter dependent. Finally, we provide evidence that the modulation of K-Rta by K-bZIP also occurs in vivo during reactivation of the viral genome in BCBL-1 cells. When K-bZIP is overexpressed in BCBL-1 cells, the level of expression of ORF57 but not PAN RNA is repressed. These data support the model that one function of K-bZIP is to modulate the activity of the transcriptional transactivator K-Rta.
PMCID: PMC140808  PMID: 12502859
20.  Transcriptional Origin of Kaposi's Sarcoma-Associated Herpesvirus MicroRNAs 
Journal of Virology  2006;80(5):2234-2242.
Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) encodes 11 distinct microRNAs, all of which are found clustered within the major latency-associated region of the KSHV genome in the same transcriptional orientation. Because the KSHV microRNAs are all expressed in latently infected cells and are largely unaffected by induction of lytic replication, it appeared probable that they would be processed out of KSHV transcripts that are derived from a latent promoter(s) present in this region. Here, we define three latent transcripts, derived from two distinct KSHV latent promoters, that function as both KSHV primary microRNA precursors and as kaposin pre-mRNAs. These activities require the readthrough of a leaky viral polyadenylation signal located at nucleotide 122070 in the KSHV genome. In contrast, recognition of this polyadenylation signal gives rise to previously identified mRNAs that encode the KSHV open reading frames (ORFs) 71, 72 and 73 proteins as well as a novel unspliced KSHV mRNA that encodes only ORF72 and ORF71. Thus, transcripts initiating at the two latent promoters present in the KSHV latency-associated region can undergo two entirely distinct fates, i.e., processing to give a kaposin mRNA and viral microRNAs on the one hand or expression as KSHV ORF71, ORF72, or ORF73 mRNAs on the other, depending on whether the viral polyadenylation site located at position 122070 is ignored or recognized, respectively.
PMCID: PMC1395403  PMID: 16474131
21.  A Viral Genome Landscape of RNA Polyadenylation from KSHV Latent to Lytic Infection 
PLoS Pathogens  2013;9(11):e1003749.
RNA polyadenylation (pA) is one of the major steps in regulation of gene expression at the posttranscriptional level. In this report, a genome landscape of pA sites of viral transcripts in B lymphocytes with Kaposi sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) infection was constructed using a modified PA-seq strategy. We identified 67 unique pA sites, of which 55 could be assigned for expression of annotated ∼90 KSHV genes. Among the assigned pA sites, twenty are for expression of individual single genes and the rest for multiple genes (average 2.7 genes per pA site) in cluster-gene loci of the genome. A few novel viral pA sites that could not be assigned to any known KSHV genes are often positioned in the antisense strand to ORF8, ORF21, ORF34, K8 and ORF50, and their associated antisense mRNAs to ORF21, ORF34 and K8 could be verified by 3′RACE. The usage of each mapped pA site correlates to its peak size, the larger (broad and wide) peak size, the more usage and thus, the higher expression of the pA site-associated gene(s). Similar to mammalian transcripts, KSHV RNA polyadenylation employs two major poly(A) signals, AAUAAA and AUUAAA, and is regulated by conservation of cis-elements flanking the mapped pA sites. Moreover, we found two or more alternative pA sites downstream of ORF54, K2 (vIL6), K9 (vIRF1), K10.5 (vIRF3), K11 (vIRF2), K12 (Kaposin A), T1.5, and PAN genes and experimentally validated the alternative polyadenylation for the expression of KSHV ORF54, K11, and T1.5 transcripts. Together, our data provide not only a comprehensive pA site landscape for understanding KSHV genome structure and gene expression, but also the first evidence of alternative polyadenylation as another layer of posttranscriptional regulation in viral gene expression.
Author Summary
A genome-wide polyadenylation landscape in the expression of human herpesviruses has not been reported. In this study, we provide the first genome landscape of viral RNA polyadenylation sites in B cells from KSHV latent to lytic infection by using a modified PA-seq protocol and selectively validated by 3′ RACE. We found that KSHV genome contains 67 active pA sites for the expression of its ∼90 genes and a few antisense transcripts. Among the mapped pA sites, a large fraction of them are for the expression of cluster genes and the production of bicistronic or polycistronic transcripts from KSHV genome and only one-third are used for the expression of single genes. We found that the size of individual PA peaks is positively correlated with the usage of corresponding pA site, which is determined by the number of reads within the PA peak from latent to lytic KSHV infection, and the strength of cis-elements surrounding KSHV pA site determines the expression level of viral genes. Lastly, we identified and experimentally validated alternative polyadenylation of KSHV ORF54, T1.5, and K11 during viral lytic infection. To our knowledge, this is the first report on alternative polyadenylation events in KSHV infection.
PMCID: PMC3828183  PMID: 24244170
22.  A Cluster of Latently Expressed Genes in Kaposi’s Sarcoma-Associated Herpesvirus 
Journal of Virology  1998;72(10):8309-8315.
Infection with Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) is closely associated with Kaposi’s sarcoma (KS) and primary effusion lymphoma, with viral genomes present in a latent state in the majority of tumor cells. Here we describe a cluster of latently expressed viral genes whose mRNAs are generated from a common promoter. Two mRNAs in this region encode the latency-associated nuclear antigen, the product of open reading frame 73 (ORF73). The larger RNA, of 5.8 kb, is an unspliced transcript that includes ORF72 and -71 at its 3′ end; it initiates at nucleotides (nt) 127880 to 127886 from a promoter lacking recognizable TATA elements. A less abundant mRNA, of 5.4 kb, is a variant of this transcript, in which 336 nt of 5′ noncoding information has been removed by RNA splicing. A third, more abundant RNA is generated from the same promoter region via splicing from the common splice donor at nt 127813 to an acceptor 5′ to ORF72; this transcript is the presumed mRNA for ORF72, which encodes the viral cyclin D homolog. All three RNAs are 3′ coterminal. In situ hybridization analysis with probes that can detect all three transcripts shows that the RNAs are detectable in a large fraction of BCBL-1 cells prior to lytic induction and in >70% of KS spindle cells in primary KS tumors. This confirms that these transcripts are indeed latent RNAs and suggests a role for their products in viral persistence and/or KSHV-associated proliferation.
PMCID: PMC110196  PMID: 9733875
23.  Kaposi's Sarcoma-Associated Herpesvirus Induces Nrf2 during De Novo Infection of Endothelial Cells to Create a Microenvironment Conducive to Infection 
PLoS Pathogens  2014;10(10):e1004460.
Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) is the etiological agent of Kaposi's sarcoma (KS) and primary effusion B-cell lymphoma. KSHV induces reactive oxygen species (ROS) early during infection of human dermal microvascular endothelial (HMVEC-d) cells that are critical for virus entry. One of the downstream targets of ROS is nuclear factor E2-related factor 2 (Nrf2), a transcription factor with important anti-oxidative functions. Here, we show that KS skin lesions have high Nrf2 activity compared to healthy skin tissue. Within 30 minutes of de novo KSHV infection of HMVEC-d cells, we observed Nrf2 activation through ROS-mediated dissociation from its inhibitor Keap1, Ser-40 phosphorylation, and subsequent nuclear translocation. KSHV binding and consequent signaling through Src, PI3-K and PKC-ζ were also important for Nrf2 stability, phosphorylation and transcriptional activity. Although Nrf2 was dispensable for ROS homeostasis, it was essential for the induction of COX-2, VEGF-A, VEGF-D, Bcl-2, NQO1, GCS, HO1, TKT, TALDO and G6PD gene expression in KSHV-infected HMVEC-d cells. The COX-2 product PGE2 induced Nrf2 activity through paracrine and autocrine signaling, creating a feed-forward loop between COX-2 and Nrf2. vFLIP, a product of KSHV latent gene ORF71, induced Nrf2 and its target genes NQO1 and HO1. Activated Nrf2 colocalized with the KSHV genome as well as with the latency protein LANA-1. Nrf2 knockdown enhanced ORF73 expression while reducing ORF50 and other lytic gene expression without affecting KSHV entry or genome nuclear delivery. Collectively, these studies for the first time demonstrate that during de novo infection, KSHV induces Nrf2 through intricate mechanisms involving multiple signal molecules, which is important for its ability to manipulate host and viral genes, creating a microenvironment conducive to KSHV infection. Thus, Nrf2 is a potential attractive target to intervene in KSHV infection and the associated maladies.
Author Summary
KSHV infection of endothelial cells in vivo causes Kaposi's sarcoma and understanding the steps involved in de novo KSHV infection of these cells and the consequences is important to develop therapies to counter KSHV pathogenesis. Infection of endothelial cells in vitro is preceded by the induction of a network of host signaling agents that are necessary for virus entry, gene expression and establishment of latency. Our previous studies have implicated reactive oxygen species (ROS) as part of this network. In the current study, we show that ROS activate Nrf2, a master transcriptional regulator of genes involved in ROS homeostasis, apoptosis, glucose metabolism and angiogenesis. Besides ROS, KSHV utilizes additional aspects of host signaling to induce Nrf2 activity. We also observed that infection of endothelial cells deficient in Nrf2 resulted in downregulation of multiple genes important in KSHV pathogenesis, such as COX-2 and VEGF, and affected proper expression of two hallmark KSHV genes, lytic ORF50 and latent ORF73. Taken together, this study is the first to demonstrate the importance of Nrf2 during de novo KSHV infection of endothelial cells, and establishes Nrf2 as an attractive therapeutic target to control KSHV infection, establishment of latency and the associated cancers.
PMCID: PMC4207826  PMID: 25340789
24.  Dissection of the Kaposi's Sarcoma-Associated Herpesvirus Gene Expression Program by Using the Viral DNA Replication Inhibitor Cidofovir 
Journal of Virology  2004;78(24):13637-13652.
Treatment of primary effusion lymphoma cells latently infected by Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV; human herpesvirus-8 [HHV-8]) with agents such as 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA) induces a lytic viral replication cycle, with an ordered gene expression program. Initial studies of the KSHV expression program following TPA induction using viral microarrays yielded useful information concerning the viral expression program, but precise kinetic assignments for some genes remained unclear. Classically, late herpesvirus genes require viral DNA replication for maximal expression. We used cidofovir (CDV), a nucleotide-analogue KSHV DNA polymerase inhibitor, to dissect KSHV expression into two components: genes expressed without viral DNA replication and those requiring it. The expression of known immediate-early or early genes (e.g., open reading frames [ORFs] 50, K8 bZIP, and 57) serving lytic regulatory roles was relatively unaffected by the presence of CDV, while known late capsid and tegument structural genes (e.g., ORFs 25, 26, 64, and 67) were CDV sensitive. Latency-associated transcript ORF 73 was unaffected by the presence of TPA or CDV, suggesting that it was constitutively expressed. Expression of several viral cellular gene homologs, including K2 (vIL-6), ORF 72 (vCyclin), ORF 74 (vGPCR), and K9 (vIRF-1), was unaffected by the presence of CDV, while that of others, such as K4.1 (vMIP-III), K11.1 (vIRF-2), and K10.5 (LANA2, vIRF-3), was inhibited. The results distinguish KSHV genes whose full expression required viral DNA replication from those that did not require it, providing additional insights into KSHV replication and pathogenesis strategies and helping to show which viral cell homologs are expressed at particular times during the lytic process.
PMCID: PMC533899  PMID: 15564474
25.  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

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