The replication and transcription activator (RTA) of Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) is a molecular switch that initiates a productive replication of latent KSHV genomes. KSHV RTA (K-RTA) is composed of 691 amino acids with high Ser and Thr content (17.7%), but to what extent these Ser and Thr are modified in vivo has not been explored.
By using tandem mass spectrometric analysis of affinity-purified FLAG tagged K-RTA, we sought to identify Ser and Thr residues that are post-translationally modified in K-RTA.
We found that K-RTA is an O-GlcNAcylated protein and Thr-366/Thr-367 is the primary motif with O-GlcNAcylation in vivo. The biological significance of O-GlcNAc modified Thr-366 and Thr-367 was assessed by site-specific amino acid substitution. Replacement of Thr with Ala at amino acid 366 or 367 caused a modest enhancement of K-RTA transactivation activity in a luciferase reporter assay and a cell model for KSHV reactivation. By using co-immunoprecipitation coupled with western blot analysis, we showed that the capacity of K-RTA in associating with endogenous PARP1 was significantly reduced in the Thr-366/Thr-367 O-GlcNAc mutants. PARP1 is a documented negative regulator of K-RTA that can be ascribed by the attachment of large negatively charged polymer onto K-RTA via PARP1's poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase activity. In agreement, shRNA-mediated depletion of O-GlcNAc transferase (OGT) in KSHV infected cells augmented viral reactivation and virus production that was accompanied by diminished K-RTA and PARP1 complexes.
KSHV latent-lytic switch K-RTA is modified by cellular O-GlcNAcylation, which imposes a negative effect on K-RTA transactivation activity. This inhibitory effect involves OGT and PARP1, two nutritional sensors recently emerging as chromatin modifiers. Thus, we speculate that the activity of K-RTA on its target genes is continuously checked and modulated by OGT and PARP1 in response to cellular metabolic state.
KSHV; K-RTA; O-GlcNAcylation; PARP1; Polycomb group (PcG) complex
Lytic reactivation from latency is critical for the pathogenesis of Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV). We previously demonstrated that the 691-amino-acid (aa) KSHV Rta transcriptional transactivator is necessary and sufficient to reactivate the virus from latency. Viral lytic cycle genes, including those expressing additional transactivators and putative oncogenes, are induced in a cascade fashion following Rta expression. In this study, we sought to define Rta's direct targets during reactivation by generating a conditionally nuclear variant of Rta. Wild-type Rta protein is constitutively localized to cell nuclei and contains two putative nuclear localization signals (NLSs). Only one NLS (NLS2; aa 516 to 530) was required for the nuclear localization of Rta, and it relocalized enhanced green fluorescent protein exclusively to cell nuclei. The results of analyses of Rta NLS mutants demonstrated that proper nuclear localization of Rta was required for transactivation and the stimulation of viral reactivation. RTA with NLS1 and NLS2 deleted was fused to the hormone-binding domain of the murine estrogen receptor to generate an Rta variant whose nuclear localization and ability to transactivate and induce reactivation were tightly controlled posttranslationally by the synthetic hormone tamoxifen. We used this strategy in KSHV-infected cells treated with protein synthesis inhibitors to identify direct transcriptional targets of Rta. Rta activated only eight KSHV genes in the absence of de novo protein synthesis. These direct transcriptional targets of Rta were transactivated to different levels and included the genes nut-1/PAN, ORF57/Mta, ORF56/Primase, K2/viral interleukin-6 (vIL-6), ORF37/SOX, K14/vOX, K9/vIRF1, and ORF52. Our data suggest that the induction of most of the KSHV lytic cycle genes requires additional protein expression after the expression of Rta.
Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus/human herpesvirus 8 (KSHV/HHV-8) RTA is an important protein involved in the induction of KSHV lytic replication from latency through activation of the lytic cascade. A number of cellular and viral proteins, including K-RBP, have been found to repress RTA-mediated transactivation and KSHV lytic replication. However, it is unclear as to how RTA overcomes the suppression during lytic reactivation. In this study, we found that RTA can induce K-RBP degradation through the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway and that two regions in RTA are responsible. Moreover, we found that RTA can promote the degradation of several other RTA repressors. RTA mutants that are defective in inducing K-RBP degradation cannot activate RTA responsive promoter as efficiently as wild-type RTA. Interference of the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway affected RTA-mediated transactivation and KSHV reactivation from latency. Our results suggest that KSHV RTA can stimulate the turnover of repressors to modulate viral reactivation. Since herpes simplex virus type 1 transactivator ICP0 and human cytomegalovirus transactivator pp71 also stimulate the degradation of cellular silencers, it is possible that the promotion of silencer degradation by viral transactivators may be a common mechanism for regulating the lytic replication of herpesviruses.
The Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) replication and transcription activator (RTA) protein regulates the latent-lytic switch by transactivating a variety of KSHV lytic and cellular promoters. RTA is a novel E3 ubiquitin ligase that targets a number of transcriptional repressor proteins for degradation by the ubiquitin proteasome pathway. Herein, we show that RTA interacts with the cellular transcriptional repressor protein Hey1. We demonstrate that Hey1 is a target for RTA-mediated ubiquitination and is subsequently degraded by the proteasome. Moreover, a Cys-plus-His-rich region within RTA is important for RTA-mediated degradation of Hey1. We confirm that Hey1 represses the RTA promoter and, furthermore, show that Hey1 binds to the RTA promoter. An interaction was observed between Hey1 and the corepressor mSin3A, and this interaction was abolished in the presence of RTA. Additionally, mSin3A associated with the RTA promoter in nonreactivated, but not reactivated, BCBL1 cells. Small interfering RNA knockdown of Hey1 in HEK 293T cells latently infected with the recombinant virus rKSHV.219 led to increased levels of RTA expression upon reactivation but was insufficient to induce complete lytic reactivation. These results suggest that other additional transcriptional repressors are also important in maintenance of KSHV latency. Taken together, our results suggest that Hey1 has a contributory role in the maintenance of KSHV latency and that disruption of the Hey1 repressosome by RTA-targeted degradation may be one step in the mechanism to regulate lytic reactivation.
Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) replication and transcription activator (RTA) is well established as a key transcriptional activator that regulates the KSHV life cycle from latency to lytic replication. It is expressed immediately after infection and activates a number of viral genes leading to virus replication. The RTA-responsive element (RRE) in the RTA target gene promoters is critical for RTA to mediate this transactivation. A number of non-conserved RREs have been identified in various RTA-responsive promoters, and AT-rich sequences have been proposed to serve as RTA targets, but no consensus RRE sequence has been identified so far. Two nonconserved RREs (RRE1 and RRE2) containing AT-rich sequences have been identified previously in the promoter of one of the KSHV lytic genes, ORF57, which can be strongly activated by RTA. Based on homology with the consensus sequence of the Epstein–Barr virus Rta RRE, this study identified a third RTA-responsive element (RRE3) in the ORF57 promoter. This RRE comprised a GC-rich sequence that could bind RTA both in vitro and in vivo, and plays a role in RTA-mediated transactivation of the ORF57 promoter. The presence of two of the three RREs in close proximity to each other was required for optimal RTA-mediated transactivation of the ORF57 promoter, even though the presence of only one RRE is needed for RTA binding. These results suggest that the ability of RTA to mediate transcriptional activation is distinct from its ability to bind to its target elements.
Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) replication and transcription activator (RTA) is well established as a key transcriptional activator that regulates the KSHV life cycle from latency to lytic replication. It is expressed immediately after infection and activates a number of viral genes leading to virus replication. The RTA-responsive element (RRE) in the RTA target gene promoters is critical for RTA to mediate this transactivation. A number of non-conserved RREs have been identified in various RTA-responsive promoters, and AT-rich sequences have been proposed to serve as RTA targets, but no consensus RRE sequence has been identified so far. Two non-conserved RREs (RRE1 and RRE2) containing AT-rich sequences have been identified previously in the promoter of one of the KSHV lytic genes, ORF57, which can be strongly activated by RTA. Based on homology with the consensus sequence of the Epstein–Barr virus Rta RRE, this study identified a third RTA-responsive element (RRE3) in the ORF57 promoter. This RRE comprised a GC-rich sequence that could bind RTA both in vitro and in vivo, and plays a role in RTA-mediated transactivation of the ORF57 promoter. The presence of two of the three RREs in close proximity to each other was required for optimal RTA-mediated transactivation of the ORF57 promoter, even though the presence of only one RRE is needed for RTA binding. These results suggest that the ability of RTA to mediate transcriptional activation is distinct from its ability to bind to its target elements.
Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) lytic switch protein, Rta, is a ligand-independent inducer of the Notch signal transduction pathway, and KSHV cannot reactivate from latency in cells null for the Notch target protein RBP-Jk. Here we show that Rta promotes DNA binding of RBP-Jk, a mechanism that is fundamentally different from that established for the RBP-Jk-activating proteins, Notch intracellular domain (NICD) and Epstein-Barr virus EBNA2. Although constitutively active RBP-Jk and NICD do not transactivate KSHV promoters independently, cotransfection of an Rta mutant lacking its transactivation domain robustly restores transcriptional activation. Cooperation requires intact DNA binding sites for Rta and RBP-Jk and trimeric complex formation between the three molecules in vitro. In infected cells, RBP-Jk is virtually undetectable on a series of viral and cellular promoters during KSHV latency but is significantly enriched following Rta expression during viral reactivation. Accordingly, Rta, but not EBNA2 and NICD, reactivates the complete viral lytic cycle.
Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) replication and transcription activator (RTA) is necessary and sufficient for the switch from KSHV latency to lytic replication. RTA activates promoters by several mechanisms. RTA can bind to sequences in viral promoters and activate transcription. In addition, RTA interacts with the cellular recombination signal sequence-binding protein-J kappa (RBP-Jκ), a transcriptional repressor, converts the repressor into an activator, and activates viral promoters via RBP-Jκ. Because RBP-Jκ is required for RTA to activate lytic replication, it is important to understand how RTA cooperates with RBP-Jκ protein to activate KSHV lytic replication program. Previously, we identified an RTA mutant, RTA-K152E, which has a defect in its direct DNA binding activity. In this report, the effect of the mutant RTA on KSHV activation via RBP-Jκ protein is examined. We demonstrate that RTA-K152E interacts with RBP-Jκ physically, and the mutant RTA and RBP-Jκ complex binds to target DNA properly in vivo and in vitro. However, the complex of RTA-K152E and RBP-Jκ does not activate transcription. Furthermore, the RTA mutant (RTA-K12E) inhibits cellular Notch-mediated RBP-Jκ activation. These data collectively suggest that the complex between KSHV RTA and cellular RBP-Jκ and the subsequent DNA binding by the complex are not sufficient for the activation of RBP-Jκ protein. Other factor(s), whether additional cofactor(s) in the complex, or the intrinsic conformation of RTA, are predicted to be required for the activation of RBP-Jκ protein by RTA.
KSHV; RTA; RBP-Jκ; lytic replication; HHV8; PEL
Replication and transcription activator (RTA) (also referred to as ORF50), an immediate-early gene product of Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV)/(human herpesvirus 8), plays a critical role in balancing the viral life cycle between latency and lytic replication. RTA has been shown to act as a strong transcription activator for several downstream genes of KSHV. Direct binding of RTA to DNA is thought to be one of the important mechanisms for transactivation of target genes, while indirect mechanisms are also implicated in RTA transactivation of certain selected genes. This study demonstrated direct binding of the DNA-binding domain of RTA (Rdbd) to a Kaposin (Kpsn) promoter sequence, which is highly homologous to the RTA-responsive element (RRE) of the PAN promoter. We undertook a comparative study of the RREs of PAN RNA, ORF57, vIL-6, and Kpsn to understand how RTA regulates gene expression during lytic replication. Comparing RNA abundance and transcription initiation rates of these RTA target genes in virus-infected cells suggested that the transcription initiation rate of the promoters is a major determinant of viral gene expression, rather than stability of the transcripts. RTA-mediated transactivation of reporters containing each RRE showed that their promoter strengths in a transient-transfection system were comparable to their transcription rates during reactivation. Moreover, our electrophoretic mobility shift assays of each RRE demonstrated that the highly purified Rdbd protein directly bound to the RREs. Based on these results, we conclude that direct binding of RTA to these target sequences contributes to their gene expression to various extents during the lytic life cycle of KSHV.
The replication and transcription activator (RTA) of Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV), or human herpesvirus 8, a homologue of Epstein-Barr virus BRLF1 or Rta, is a strong transactivator and inducer of lytic replication. RTA acting alone can induce lytic replication of KSHV in infected cell lines that originated from primary effusion lymphomas, leading to virus production. During the lytic replication process, RTA activates many kinds of genes, including polyadenylated nuclear RNA, K8, K9 (vIRF), ORF57, and so on. We focused here on the mechanism of how RTA upregulates the K9 (vIRF) promoter and identified two independent cis-acting elements in the K9 (vIRF) promoter that responded to RTA. These elements were finally confined to the sequence 5′-TCTGGGACAGTC-3′ in responsive element (RE) I-2B and the sequence 5′-GTACTTAAAATA-3′ in RE IIC-2, both of which did not share sequence homology. Multiple factors bound specifically with these elements, and their binding was correlated with the RTA-responsive activity. Electrophoretic mobility shift assay with nuclear extract from infected cells and the N-terminal part of RTA expressed in Escherichia coli, however, did not show that RTA interacted directly with these elements, in contrast to the RTA responsive elements in the PAN/K12 promoter region, the ORF57/K8 promoter region. Thus, it was likely that RTA could transactivate several kinds of unique cis elements without directly binding to the responsive elements, probably through cooperation with other DNA-binding factors.
Kaposi's sarcoma associated herpesvirus (KSHV)/human herpesvirus 8 (HHV-8) encodes an immediate early transcriptional activator, Rta, which mediates viral reactivation from latency and lytic viral replication. Here we report the purification and characterizations of HHV-8 Rta and its interaction with Rta-responsive DNA elements. The Rta response element (RtaRE) in the promoter of the KSHV/HHV-8 K8 open reading frame was mapped to a 47-bp sequence (RtaRE1) and a 60-bp sequence (RtaRE2) upstream of the TATA motif. A comparison of the K8 RtaREs with other viral RtaREs revealed a pattern of multiple A/T triplets spaced with a periodicity of 10 or 20 bp. Substitutions of the in-phase A/T trinucleotides of the RtaRE1 with G/C bases greatly diminished Rta responsiveness and Rta binding. By contrast, base substitutions in an out-of-phase A/T-trinucleotide sequence had no effect. Importantly, multimers of (A/T)3N7 and N5(A/T)5N6(A/T)4 motifs supported a strong Rta response in a copy number-dependent manner. No specific sequence motifs in the spacer regions could be discerned. Potent Rta response, however, was obtained with phased A/T trinucleotides with 7-bp spacers of arbitrary sequences with high G/C content. Lengthening of the phased A/T motifs or lowering of the G/C content of the spacers resulted in a reduction in Rta response. Finally, Escherichia coli-derived Rta is an oligomer of 440 kDa in molecular size and binds RtaRE as an oligomer. These results support a model of Rta transactivation wherein the subunits of the Rta oligomer make multiple contacts with a tandem array of phased A/T triplets in the configuration of (A/T)3(G/C)7 repeats.
RTA (replication and transcription activator; also referred to as ORF50, Lyta, and ART), an immediate-early gene product of Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV)/human herpesvirus 8, disrupts latency and drives lytic replication. RTA activates the expression of polyadenylated nuclear (PAN) RNA (also known as T1.1 or nut-1) of KSHV. This novel noncoding PAN RNA is the most abundant lytic transcript of KSHV; therefore, studying PAN RNA expression serves as a model system for understanding how RTA transactivates target genes during lytic replication. The RTA-responsive element of the PAN promoter (pPAN RRE) was previously identified, and our data suggested direct binding of full-length RTA to the pPAN RRE. Here, we present a detailed analysis of specific interactions between RTA and the PAN promoter. We expressed and purified the DNA-binding domain of RTA (Rdbd) to near homogeneity and measured its affinity for the pPAN RRE. In electrophoretic mobility shift assays (EMSAs), the dissociation constant (Kd) of Rdbd on the pPAN RRE was determined to be approximately 8 × 10−9 M, suggesting a strong interaction between RTA and DNA. The specificity of RTA binding to the PAN promoter was confirmed with supershift assays. The Rdbd binding sequences on the PAN promoter were mapped within a 16-bp region of the pPAN RRE by methylation interference assays. However, the minimal DNA sequence for Rdbd binding requires an additional 7 bp on both sides of the area mapped by interference assays, suggesting that non-sequence-specific as well as sequence-specific interactions between RTA and DNA contribute to high-affinity binding. To better understand the molecular interactions between RTA and the PAN promoter, an extensive mutagenesis study on the pPAN RRE was carried out by using EMSAs and reporter assays. These analyses revealed base pairs critical for both Rdbd binding in vitro and RTA transactivation in vivo of the PAN promoter. The results from methylation interference, deletion analysis, and mutagenesis using EMSAs and reporter assays were closely correlated and support the hypothesis that RTA activates PAN RNA expression through direct binding to DNA.
Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV)/human herpesvirus 8 (HHV-8) displays two distinct life stages, latency and lytic reactivation. Progression through the lytic cycle and replication of the viral genome constitute an essential step toward the production of infectious virus and human disease. KSHV K-RTA has been shown to be the major transactivator required for the initiation of lytic reactivation. In the transient-cotransfection replication assay, K-Rta is the only noncore protein required for DNA synthesis. K-Rta was shown to interact with both C/EBPα binding motifs and the R response elements (RRE) within oriLyt. It is postulated that K-Rta acts in part to facilitate the recruitment of replication factors to oriLyt. In order to define the role of K-Rta in the initiation of lytic DNA synthesis, we show an interaction with ORF59, the DNA polymerase processivity factor (PF), one of the eight virally encoded proteins necessary for origin-dependent DNA replication. Using the chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) assay, both K-Rta and ORF59 interact with the RRE and C/EBPα binding motifs within oriLyt in cells harboring the KSHV bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC). A transient-transfection ChIP assay demonstrated that the interaction of ORF59 with oriLyt is dependent on binding with K-Rta and that ORF59 fails to bind to oriLyt in the absence of K-Rta. Also, using the cotransfection replication assay, overexpression of the interaction domain of K-Rta with ORF59 has a dominant negative effect on oriLyt amplification, suggesting that the interaction of K-Rta with ORF59 is essential for DNA synthesis and supporting the hypothesis that K-Rta facilitates the formation of a replication complex at oriLyt.
Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) is the major biological cofactor contributing to development of Kaposi's sarcoma. KSHV establishes a latent infection in human B cells expressing the latency-associated nuclear antigen (LANA), a critical factor in the regulation of viral latency. LANA controls KSHV latent infection through repression of RTA, an activator of many lytic promoters. RTA activates the expression of several lytic viral genes by interacting with recombination signal sequence-binding protein Jκ (RBP-Jκ), a transcriptional repressor and the target of the Notch signaling pathway. The recognition that a number of KSHV lytic gene promoters, including RTA, contain RBP-Jκ binding sites raised the possibility that RBP-Jκ-mediated repression may be central to the establishment of latency. Here, we tested this hypothesis by examining the regulation of RTA by LANA through binding to RBP-Jκ. This study demonstrates that LANA physically associates with RBP-Jκ in vitro and in KSHV-infected cells, with the complex formed capable of binding to RBP-Jκ cognate sequences. RBP-Jκ binding sites within the RTA promoter have been found to be critical for LANA-mediated repression. Our study describes a novel mechanism through which LANA maintains KSHV latency by targeting a major downstream effector of the Notch signaling pathway.
Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) is tightly linked to at least two lymphoproliferative disorders, primary effusion lymphoma (PEL) and multicentric Castleman's disease (MCD). However, the development of KSHV-mediated lymphoproliferative disease is not fully understood. Here, we generated two recombinant KSHV viruses deleted for the first RBP-Jκ binding site (RTA1st) and all three RBP-Jκ binding sites (RTAall) within the RTA promoter. Our results showed that RTA1st and RTAall recombinant viruses possess increased viral latency and a decreased capability for lytic replication in HEK 293 cells, enhancing colony formation and proliferation of infected cells. Furthermore, recombinant RTA1st and RTAall viruses showed greater infectivity in human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) relative to wt KSHV. Interestingly, KSHV BAC36 wt, RTA1st and RTAall recombinant viruses infected both T and B cells and all three viruses efficiently infected T and B cells in a time-dependent manner early after infection. Also, the capability of both RTA1st and RTAall recombinant viruses to infect CD19+ B cells was significantly enhanced. Surprisingly, RTA1st and RTAall recombinant viruses showed greater infectivity for CD3+ T cells up to 7 days. Furthermore, studies in Telomerase-immortalized human umbilical vein endothelial (TIVE) cells infected with KSHV corroborated our data that RTA1st and RTAall recombinant viruses have enhanced ability to persist in latently infected cells with increased proliferation. These recombinant viruses now provide a model to explore early stages of primary infection in human PBMCs and development of KSHV-associated lymphoproliferative diseases.
Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) is tightly linked to at least two lymphoproliferative disorders, primary effusion lymphoma (PEL) and multicentric Castleman's disease (MCD). The life cycle of KSHV consists of latent and lytic phase. RTA is the master switch for viral lytic replication. In this study, we first show that recombinant viruses deleted for the RBP-Jκ sites within the RTA promoter have a decreased capability for lytic replication, and thus enhanced colony formation and proliferation of infected cells. Interestingly, the recombinant viruses show greater infectivity in human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs). The recombinant viruses also infected CD19+ B cells and CD3+ T cells with increased efficiency in a time-dependent manner and now provide a model which can be used to explore the early stages of primary infection in human PBMCs, as well as the development of KSHV-associated lymphoproliferative diseases.
Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) maintains a latent infection in primary effusion lymphoma (PEL) cells, but treatment with tetradecanoyl phorbol acetate (TPA) can trigger the full lytic-cycle replication in some of these cells. During lytic-cycle replication, the KSHV-encoded replication and transcription activator (RTA or ORF50), the mRNA transport and accumulation protein (MTA), and the replication-associated protein (RAP) all play crucial roles in expression of downstream viral genes as well as in mediation of viral DNA replication. The cellular CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein alpha (C/EBPα) is induced in TPA-treated PEL cells and contributes to transactivation of the promoters for all of these genes through both direct binding and cooperative interactions with RTA and RAP targeted to upstream C/EBP sites. However, little is known about how RTA expression is triggered initially at the earliest stages after TPA induction when the C/EBPα levels are still limited. Treatment with TPA proved to significantly induce both AP1 DNA-binding activity and levels of activated phosphorylated cJUN in PEL cells and ectopic expression of cJUN-plus-cFOS-induced RTA protein expression in PEL cells. Cotransfected cJUN plus cFOS or TPA treatment transactivated the KSHV RTA, RAP, and MTA promoters in an AP1-binding site-dependent manner in all three promoters. Chromatin immunoprecipitation assays confirmed that cJUN associates with these KSHV target promoters in PEL cells as early as 4 h after TPA treatment. Furthermore, the KSHV RTA and RAP proteins both interact with cJUN or both cJUN and cFOS in vitro or by coimmunoprecipitation from induced PEL cells and enhance cJUN-plus-cFOS-mediated transactivation of these viral promoters. Both increased phosphorylated cJUN and AP1 DNA-binding activity was detected as early as 1 h after TPA treatment in PEL cells, suggesting that AP1 activity may be crucial for very early activation of the RAP, MTA, and RTA promoters during the KSHV lytic cycle. Finally, expression of RTA alone increased cJUN protein levels severalfold in DG75 cells but did not induce cJUN phosphorylation. Therefore, we suggest that the initiating effects of TPA via the AP1 pathway in PEL cells need to be amplified by RTA for full lytic-cycle induction.
The viral immediate-early transactivator Rta/Orf50 is necessary and sufficient to initiate Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus/human herpesvirus 8 (KSHV/HHV-8) reactivation from latently infected cells. Since Rta/Orf50 is conserved among all known gamma-2-herpesviruses, we investigated whether the murine gamma-68-herpesvirus (MHV-68) and rhesus monkey rhadinovirus (RRV) homologs can functionally substitute for KSHV Rta/Orf50. (i) Our comparison of 12 KSHV promoters showed that most responded to all three Rta/Orf50proteins, but three promoters (vGPCR, K8, and gB) responded only to the KSHV Rta/Orf50 transactivator. Overall, the activation of KSHV promoters was higher with KSHV Rta than with the RRV and MHV-68 Rta. (ii) Only the primate Rta/Orf50 homologs were able to interfere with human p53-depedent transcriptional activation. (iii) Transcriptional profiling showed that the KSHV Rta/Orf50 was more efficient than it's homologs in inducing KSHV lytic transcription from the latent state. These results suggest that the core functionality of Rta/Orf50 is conserved and independent of its host, but the human protein has evolved additional, human-specific capabilities.
The Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) Mta protein, encoded by open reading frame 57, is a transactivator of gene expression that is essential for productive viral replication. Previous studies have suggested both transcriptional and posttranscriptional roles for Mta, but little is known regarding Mta's transcriptional function. In this study, we demonstrate that Mta cooperates with the KSHV lytic switch protein, Rta, to reactivate KSHV from latency, but Mta has little effect on reactivation when expressed alone. We demonstrate that the Mta and Rta proteins are expressed with similar but distinct kinetics during KSHV reactivation. In single-cell analyses, Mta expression coincides tightly with progression to full viral reactivation. We demonstrate with promoter reporter assays that while Rta activates transcription in all cell lines tested, Mta's ability to transactivate promoters, either alone or synergistically with Rta, is cell and promoter specific. In particular, Mta robustly transactivates the nut-1/PAN promoter independently of Rta in 293 and Akata-31 cells. Using nuclear run-on assays, we demonstrate that Mta stimulates transcriptional initiation in 293 cells. Rta and Mta physically interact in infected cell extracts, and this interaction requires the intact leucine repeat and central region of Rta in vitro. We demonstrate that Mta also binds to the nut-1/PAN promoter DNA in vitro and in infected cells. An Mta mutant with a lesion in a putative A/T hook domain is altered in DNA binding and debilitated in transactivation. We propose that one molecular mechanism of Mta-mediated transactivation is a direct effect on transcription by direct and indirect promoter association.
An important step in the herpesvirus life cycle is the switch from latency to lytic reactivation. In order to study the life cycle of Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV), we developed a gene expression system in KSHV-infected primary effusion lymphoma cells. This system uses Flp-mediated efficient recombination and tetracycline-inducible expression. The Rta transcriptional activator, which acts as a molecular switch for lytic reactivation of KSHV, was efficiently integrated downstream of the Flp recombination target site, and its expression was tightly controlled by tetracycline. Like stimulation with tetradecanoyl phorbol acetate (TPA), the ectopic expression of Rta efficiently induced a complete cycle of viral replication, including a well-ordered program of KSHV gene expression and production of infectious viral progeny. A striking feature of Rta-mediated lytic gene expression was that Rta induced KSHV gene expression in a more powerful and efficient manner than TPA stimulation, indicating that Rta plays a central, leading role in KSHV lytic gene expression. Thus, our streamlined gene expression system provides a novel means not only to study the effects of viral gene products on overall KSHV gene expression and replication, but also to understand the natural viral reactivation process.
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.
The Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) delayed-early K-bZIP promoter contains an ORF50/Rta binding site whose sequence is conserved with the ORF57 promoter. Mutation of the site in the full-length K-bZIP promoter reduced Rta-mediated transactivation by greater than 80%. The K-bZIP element contains an octamer (Oct) binding site that overlaps the Rta site and is well conserved with Oct elements found in the immediate-early promoters of herpes simplex virus type 1(HSV-1). The cellular protein Oct-1, but not Oct-2, binds to the K-bZIP element in a sequence-specific fashion in vitro and in vivo and stimulates Rta binding to the promoter DNA. The coexpression of Oct-1 enhances Rta-mediated transactivation of the wild type but not the mutant K-bZIP promoter, and Oct-1 and Rta proteins bind to each other directly in vitro. Mutations of Rta within an amino acid sequence conserved with HSV-1 virion protein 16 eliminate Rta's interactions with Oct-1 and K-bZIP promoter DNA but not RBP-Jk. The binding of Rta to both Oct-1 and DNA contributes to the transactivation of the K-bZIP promoter and viral reactivation, and Rta mutants deficient for both interactions are completely debilitated. Our data suggest that the Rta/Oct-1 interaction is essential for optimal KSHV reactivation. Transfections of mouse embryo fibroblasts and an endothelial cell line suggest cell-specific differences in the requirement for Oct-1 or RBP-Jk in Rta-mediated transactivation of the K-bZIP promoter. We propose a model in which Rta transactivation of the promoter is specified by the combination of DNA binding and interactions with several cellular DNA binding proteins including Oct-1.
Upon viral infection, the mitochondrial antiviral signaling (MAVS)-IKKβ pathway is activated to restrict viral replication. Manipulation of immune signaling events by pathogens has been an outstanding theme of host-pathogen interaction. Here we report that the loss of MAVS or IKKβ impaired the lytic replication of gamma-herpesvirus 68 (γHV68), a model herpesvirus for human Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus and Epstein-Barr virus. γHV68 infection activated IKKβ in a MAVS-dependent manner; however, IKKβ phosphorylated and promoted the transcriptional activation of the γHV68 replication and transcription activator (RTA). Mutational analyses identified IKKβ phosphorylation sites, through which RTA-mediated transcription was increased by IKKβ, within the transactivation domain of RTA. Moreover, the lytic replication of recombinant γHV68 carrying mutations within the IKKβ phosphorylation sites was greatly impaired. These findings support the conclusion that γHV68 hijacks the antiviral MAVS-IKKβ pathway to promote viral transcription and lytic infection, representing an example whereby viral replication is coupled to host immune activation.
Innate immunity represents the first line of defense against pathogen infection. Recent studies uncovered an array of sensors that detect pathogen-associated molecular patterns and induce antiviral cytokine production via two closely related kinase complexes, i.e., the IKKα/β/γ and TBK-1/IKKε. To counteract host immune defense, herpesviruses have evolved diverse strategies to evade, manipulate, and exploit host immune responses. Here we report that infection by murine gamma-herpesvirus 68 (γHV68), a model gamma-herpesvirus for human Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus and Epstein-Barr virus, activated the IKKβ kinase and IKKβ was usurped to promote viral transcriptional activation. As such, uncoupling IKKβ from transcriptional activation by biochemical and genetic approaches impaired γHV68 lytic replication. Our study represents an example whereby viral lytic replication is coupled to host innate immune activation and sheds light on herpesvirus exploitation of immune responses.
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.
Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) is associated with Kaposi’s sarcoma and primary effusion lymphoma (PEL). The KSHV replication and transcription activator (RTA) and latency-associated nuclear antigen (LANA) play key roles in activating KSHV lytic replication and maintaining KSHV latency, respectively. Phosphorodiamidate morpholino oligomers (PMO) are similar to short single-stranded DNA oligomers, but possess a modified backbone that confers highly specific binding and resistance to nucleases. In this study, RTA and LANA mRNA in PEL cells were targeted by antisense peptide-conjugated PMO (P-PMO) in an effort to suppress KSHV replication. Highly efficient P-PMO uptake by PEL cells was observed. Treatment of PEL cells with a RTA P-PMO (RP1) reduced RTA expression in a dose-dependent and sequence-specific manner. There was also a significant decrease in several KSHV early and late gene products, including vIL-6, vIRF-1, and ORF-K8.1A. KSHV viral DNA levels were reduced both in cells and culture supernatants of RP1 P-PMO-treated cells, which indicate that KSHV lytic replication was supressed. Treatment of BCBL-1 cells with P-PMO against LANA resulted in a reduction of LANA expression. Cell viability assays detected no cytotoxicity from P-PMO alone, within the concentration range used for the experiments in this study. These results suggest that RP1 P-PMO can specifically block KSHV replication, and further study is warranted.
KSHV; RTA; LANA; Morpholino; antiviral; Antisense
Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) EBNA2 and Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) replication and transcription activator (RTA) are recruited to their responsive elements through interaction with a Notch-mediated transcription factor, RBP-Jκ. In particular, RTA and EBNA2 interactions with RBP-Jκ are essential for the lytic replication of KSHV and expression of B-cell activation markers CD21 and CD23a, respectively. Here, we demonstrate that like EBV EBNA2, KSHV RTA strongly induces CD21 and CD23a expression through RBP-Jκ binding sites in the first intron of CD21 and in the CD23a core promoter, respectively. However, unlike EBV EBNA2, which alters immunoglobulin μ (Igμ) and c-myc gene expression, RTA did not affect Igμ and c-myc expression, indicating that KSHV RTA targets the Notch signal transduction pathway in a manner similar to but distinct from that of EBV EBNA2. Furthermore, RTA-induced expression of CD21 glycoprotein, which is an EBV receptor, efficiently facilitated EBV infection. In addition, RTA-induced CD23 glycoprotein underwent proteolysis and gave rise to soluble CD23 (sCD23) molecules in B lymphocytes and KSHV-infected primary effusion lymphocytes. sCD23 then stimulated primary human lymphocytes. These results demonstrate that cellular CD21 and CD23a are common targets for B lymphotropic gammaherpesviruses and that KSHV RTA regulates RBP-Jκ-mediated cellular gene expression, which ultimately provides a favorable milieu for viral reproduction in the infected host.