Astrocytes usually respond to trauma, stroke, or neurodegeneration by undergoing cellular hypertrophy, yet, their response to a specific immune attack by T cells is poorly understood. Effector T cells establish specific contacts with target cells, known as immunological synapses, during clearance of virally infected cells from the brain. Immunological synapses mediate intercellular communication between T cells and target cells, both in vitro and in vivo. How target virally infected astrocytes respond to the formation of immunological synapses established by effector T cells is unknown.
Herein we demonstrate that, as a consequence of T cell attack, infected astrocytes undergo dramatic morphological changes. From normally multipolar cells, they become unipolar, extending a major protrusion towards the immunological synapse formed by the effector T cells, and withdrawing most of their finer processes. Thus, target astrocytes become polarized towards the contacting T cells. The MTOC, the organizer of cell polarity, is localized to the base of the protrusion, and Golgi stacks are distributed throughout the protrusion, reaching distally towards the immunological synapse. Thus, rather than causing astrocyte hypertrophy, antiviral T cells cause a major structural reorganization of target virally infected astrocytes.
Astrocyte polarization, as opposed to hypertrophy, in response to T cell attack may be due to T cells providing a very focused attack, and thus, astrocytes responding in a polarized manner. A similar polarization of Golgi stacks towards contacting T cells was also detected using an in vitro allogeneic model. Thus, different T cells are able to induce polarization of target astrocytes. Polarization of target astrocytes in response to immunological synapses may play an important role in regulating the outcome of the response of astrocytes to attacking effector T cells, whether during antiviral (e.g. infected during HIV, HTLV-1, HSV-1 or LCMV infection), anti-transplant, autoimmune, or anti-tumor immune responses in vivo and in vitro.
The large tegument proteins of herpesviruses contain N-terminal cysteine proteases with potent ubiquitin and NEDD8-specific deconjugase activities, but the function of the enzymes during virus replication remains largely unknown. Using as model BPLF1, the homologue encoded by Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), we found that induction of the productive virus cycle does not affect the total level of ubiquitin-conjugation but is accompanied by a BPLF1-dependent decrease of NEDD8-adducts and accumulation of free NEDD8. Expression of BPLF1 promotes cullin degradation and the stabilization of cullin-RING ligases (CRLs) substrates in the nucleus, while cytoplasmic CRLs and their substrates are not affected. The inactivation of nuclear CRLs is reversed by the N-terminus of CAND1, which inhibits the binding of BPLF1 to cullins and prevents efficient viral DNA replication. Targeting of the deneddylase activity to the nucleus is dependent on processing of the catalytic N-terminus by caspase-1. Inhibition of caspase-1 severely impairs viral DNA synthesis and the release of infectious virus, pointing a previously unrecognized role of the cellular response to danger signals triggered by EBV reactivation in promoting virus replication.
Viruses rely on the host cell for replication and have evolved sophisticated strategies to manipulate and harness the cellular metabolic pathways and defense responses. A better knowledge of these viral strategies will provide new targets for antiviral therapies. The N-terminus of the large tegument proteins of herpesviruses encodes an ubiquitin and NEDD8-specific deconjugase, but the function of the enzyme during virus replication is largely unknown. Here we report that, endogenously expressed BPLF1, the homolog encoded by Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), promotes a dramatic decrease of NEDD8-conjugates and the accumulation of free NEDD8 in cells entering the productive virus cycle. BPLF1 exerts its deneddylase activity in the nucleus, which promotes the accumulation of cullin-RING ligase (CRL) substrates that are required for efficient virus replication. Targeting of the viral enzyme to the nucleus is dependent on processing of the catalytic N-terminus by caspase-1. Inhibition of caspase-1 severely impairs viral DNA synthesis and the release of infectious virus, pointing to an unexpected role of the cellular response to danger signals triggered by EBV reactivation in promoting virus replication.
The capacity of gamma-herpesviruses to establish lifelong infections is dependent on the expression of genome maintenance proteins (GMPs) that tether the viral episomes to cellular chromatin and allow their persistence in latently infected proliferating cells. Here we have characterized the chromatin interaction of GMPs encoded by viruses belonging to the genera Lymphocryptovirus (LCV) and Rhadinovirus (RHV). We found that, in addition to a similar diffuse nuclear localization and comparable detergent resistant interaction with chromatin in transfected cells, all GMPs shared the capacity to promote the decondensation of heterochromatin in the A03-1 reporter cell line. They differed, however, in their mobility measured by fluorescence recovery after photobleaching (FRAP), and in the capacity to recruit accessory molecules required for the chromatin remodeling function. While the AT-hook containing GMPs of LCVs were highly mobile, a great variability was observed among GMPs encoded by RHV, ranging from virtually immobile to significantly reduced mobility compared to LCV GMPs. Only the RHV GMPs recruited the bromo- and extra terminal domain (BET) proteins BRD2 and BRD4 to the site of chromatin remodeling. These findings suggest that differences in the mode of interaction with cellular chromatin may underlie different strategies adopted by these viruses for reprogramming of the host cells during latency.
Viral proteins reprogram their host cells by hijacking regulatory components of protein networks. Here we describe a novel property of the Epstein–Barr virus (EBV) nuclear antigen-1 (EBNA1) that may underlie the capacity of the virus to promote a global remodeling of chromatin architecture and cellular transcription. We found that the expression of EBNA1 in transfected human and mouse cells is associated with decreased prevalence of heterochromatin foci, enhanced accessibility of cellular DNA to micrococcal nuclease digestion and decreased average length of nucleosome repeats, suggesting de-protection of the nucleosome linker regions. This is a direct effect of EBNA1 because targeting the viral protein to heterochromatin promotes large-scale chromatin decondensation with slow kinetics and independent of the recruitment of adenosine triphosphate–dependent chromatin remodelers. The remodeling function is mediated by a bipartite Gly-Arg rich domain of EBNA1 that resembles the AT-hook of High Mobility Group A (HMGA) architectural transcription factors. Similar to HMGAs, EBNA1 is highly mobile in interphase nuclei and promotes the mobility of linker histone H1, which counteracts chromatin condensation and alters the transcription of numerous cellular genes. Thus, by regulating chromatin compaction, EBNA1 may reset cellular transcription during infection and prime the infected cells for malignant transformation.
Tripeptidyl-peptidase II (TPPII) is a serine peptidase highly expressed in malignant Burkitt’s lymphoma cells (BL). We have previously shown that overexpression of TPPII correlates with chromosomal instability, centrosomal and mitotic spindle abnormalities and resistance to apoptosis induced by spindle poisons. Furthermore, TPPII knockdown by RNAi was associated with endoreplication and the accumulation of polynucleated cells that failed to complete cell division, indicating a role of TPPII in the cell cycle. Here we have applied a global approach of gene expression analysis to gain insights on the mechanism by which TPPII regulates this phenotype. mRNA profiling of control and TPPII knockdown BL cells identified one hundred and eighty five differentially expressed genes. Functional categorization of these genes highlighted major physiological functions such as apoptosis, cell cycle progression, cytoskeleton remodeling, proteolysis, and signal transduction. Pathways and protein interactome analysis revealed a significant enrichment in components of MAP kinases signaling. These findings suggest that TPPII influences a wide network of signaling pathways that are regulated by MAPKs and exerts thereby a pleiotropic effect on biological processes associated with cell survival, proliferation and genomic instability.
TPPII; MAPK signaling; centrosome; cell cycle; cytoskeleton
Herpesviruses are characterized by their ability to establish lifelong latent infection. The gammaherpesvirus subfamily is distinguished by lymphotropism, establishing and maintaining latent infection predominantly in B lymphocytes. Consequently, gammaherpesvirus pathogenesis is closely linked to normal B cell physiology. Murine gammaherpesvirus 68 (MHV68) pathogenesis in laboratory mice has been extensively studied as a model system to gain insights into the nature of gammaherpesvirus infection in B cells and their associated lymphoid compartments. In addition to B cells, MHV68 infection of macrophages contributes significantly to the frequency of viral genome-positive cells in the peritoneal cavity throughout latency. The omentum, a sheet of richly-vascularized adipose tissue, resides in the peritoneal cavity and contains clusters of immune cell aggregates termed milky spots. Although the value of the omentum in surgical wound-healing has long been appreciated, the unique properties of this tissue and its contribution to both innate and adaptive immunity have only recently been recognized. To determine whether the omentum plays a role in gammaherpesvirus pathogenesis we examined this site during early MHV68 infection and long-term latency. Following intraperitoneal infection, immune aggregates within the omentum expanded in size and number and contained virus-infected cells. Notably, a germinal-center B cell population appeared in the omentum of infected animals with earlier kinetics and greater magnitude than that observed in the spleen. Furthermore, the omentum harbored a stable frequency of viral genome-positive cells through early and into long-term latency, while removal of the omentum prior to infection resulted in a slight decrease in the establishment of splenic latency following intraperitoneal infection. These data provide the first evidence that the omentum is a site of chronic MHV68 infection that may contribute to the maintenance of chronic infection.
The T cell receptor (TCR) repertoires of cytotoxic responses to the immunodominant and subdominant HLA A11–restricted epitopes in the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) nuclear antigen-4 were investigated in four healthy virus carriers. The response to the subdominant epitope (EBNA4 399-408, designated AVF) was highly restricted with conserved Vβ usage and identical length and amino acid motifs in the third complementarity-determining regions (CDR3), while a broad repertoire using different combinations of TCR-α/β V and J segments and CDR3 regions was selected by the immunodominant epitope (EBNA4 416-424, designated IVT). Distinct patterns of interaction with the A11–peptide complex were revealed for each AVF- or IVT-specific TCR clonotype by alanine scanning mutagenesis analysis. Blocking of cytotoxic function by antibodies specific for the CD8 coreceptor indicated that, while AVF-specific TCRs are of high affinity, the oligoclonal response to the IVT epitope includes both low- and high-affinity TCRs. Thus, comparison of the memory response to two epitopes derived from the same viral antigen and presented through the same MHC class I allele suggests that immunodominance may correlate with the capacity to maintain a broad TCR repertoire.
Latent Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) has been shown to protect Burkitt's lymphoma-derived B cells from apoptosis induced by agents that cause damage to DNA, in the context of mutant p53. This protection requires expression of the latency-associated nuclear proteins EBNA3A and EBNA3C and correlates with their ability to cooperate in the repression of the gene encoding the pro-apoptotic, BH3-only protein BIM. Here we confirm that latent EBV in B cells also inhibits apoptosis induced by two other agents – ionomycin and staurosporine – and show that these act by a distinct pathway that involves a p53-independent increase in expression of another pro-apoptotic, BH3-only protein, NOXA. Analyses employing a variety of B cells infected with naturally occurring EBV or B95.8 EBV-BAC recombinant mutants indicated that the block to NOXA induction does not depend on the well-characterized viral latency-associated genes (EBNAs 1, 2, 3A, 3B, 3C, the LMPs or the EBERs) or expression of BIM. Regulation of NOXA was shown to be at least partly at the level of mRNA and the requirement for NOXA to induce cell death in this context was demonstrated by NOXA-specific shRNA-mediated depletion experiments. Although recombinant EBV with a deletion removing the BHRF1 locus – that encodes the BCL2-homologue BHRF1 and three microRNAs – partially abrogates protection against ionomycin and staurosporine, the deletion has no effect on the EBV-mediated block to NOXA accumulation.
Expression of MYC is deregulated in a wide range of human cancers, and is often associated with aggressive disease and poorly differentiated tumor cells. Identification of compounds with selectivity for cells overexpressing MYC would hence be beneficial for the treatment of these tumors. For this purpose we used cell lines with conditional MYCN or c-MYC expression, to screen a library of 80 conventional cytotoxic compounds for their ability to reduce tumor cell viability and/or growth in a MYC dependent way. We found that 25% of the studied compounds induced apoptosis and/or inhibited proliferation in a MYC-specific manner. The activities of the majority of these were enhanced both by c-MYC or MYCN over-expression. Interestingly, these compounds were acting on distinct cellular targets, including microtubules (paclitaxel, podophyllotoxin, vinblastine) and topoisomerases (10-hydroxycamptothecin, camptothecin, daunorubicin, doxorubicin, etoposide) as well as DNA, RNA and protein synthesis and turnover (anisomycin, aphidicholin, gliotoxin, MG132, methotrexate, mitomycin C). Our data indicate that MYC overexpression sensitizes cells to disruption of specific pathways and that in most cases c-MYC and MYCN overexpression have similar effects on the responses to cytotoxic compounds. Treatment of the cells with topoisomerase I inhibitors led to down-regulation of MYC protein levels, while doxorubicin and the small molecule MYRA-A was found to disrupt MYC-Max interaction. We conclude that the MYC pathway is only targeted by a subset of conventional cytotoxic drugs currently used in the clinic. Elucidating the mechanisms underlying their specificity towards MYC may be of importance for optimizing treatment of tumors with MYC deregulation. Our data also underscores that MYC is an attractive target for novel therapies and that cellular screenings of chemical libraries can be a powerful tool for identifying compounds with a desired biological activity.
We have developed an approach for simultaneous detection of individual endogenous protein modifications and mRNA molecules in single cells in situ. For this purpose we combined two methods previously developed in our lab: in situ proximity ligation assay for the detection of individual protein interactions and -modifications and in situ detection of single mRNA molecules using padlock probes. As proof-of-principle, we demonstrated the utility of the method for simultaneous detection of phosphorylated PDGFRβ and DUSP6/MKP-3 mRNA molecules in individual human fibroblasts upon PDGF-BB stimulation. Further we applied drugs disrupting the PDGFRβ signaling pathway at various sites to show that this combined method can concurrently monitor the molecular effect of the drugs, i.e. inhibition of downstream signaling from the targeted node in the signaling pathway. Due to its ability to detect different types of molecules in single cells in situ the method presented here can contribute to a deeper understanding of cell-to-cell variations and can be applied to e.g. pinpoint effector sites of drugs in a signaling pathway.
The cylindromatosis tumor suppressor (CYLD) is a deubiquitinating enzyme that has been implicated in various aspects of adaptive and innate immune responses. Nevertheless, the role of CYLD in the function of specific types of immune cells remains elusive. In this report we have used conditional gene targeting in mice to address the role of the deubiquitinating activity of CYLD in the myelomonocytic lineage. Truncation of the deubiquitinating domain of CYLD specifically in myelomonocytic cells impaired the development of lethal LPS-induced endotoxic shock and the accumulation of thioglycollate-elicited peritoneal macrophages. Our data establish CYLD as a regulator of monocyte-macrophage activation in response to inflammatory stimuli and identify it as a potential target for therapeutic intervention in relevant inflammatory disorders in humans.
The translation initiation factor complex eIF3f has an intrinsic deubiquitinase activity and regulates the Notch signaling pathway.
Activation of the mammalian Notch receptor after ligand binding relies on a succession of events including metalloprotease-cleavage, endocytosis, monoubiquitination, and eventually processing by the gamma-secretase, giving rise to a soluble, transcriptionally active molecule. The Notch1 receptor was proposed to be monoubiquitinated before its gamma-secretase cleavage; the targeted lysine has been localized to its submembrane domain. Investigating how this step might be regulated by a deubiquitinase (DUB) activity will provide new insight for understanding Notch receptor activation and downstream signaling. An immunofluorescence-based screening of an shRNA library allowed us to identify eIF3f, previously known as one of the subunits of the translation initiation factor eIF3, as a DUB targeting the activated Notch receptor. We show that eIF3f has an intrinsic DUB activity. Knocking down eIF3f leads to an accumulation of monoubiquitinated forms of activated Notch, an effect counteracted by murine WT eIF3f but not by a catalytically inactive mutant. We also show that eIF3f is recruited to activated Notch on endocytic vesicles by the putative E3 ubiquitin ligase Deltex1, which serves as a bridging factor. Finally, catalytically inactive forms of eIF3f as well as shRNAs targeting eIF3f repress Notch activation in a coculture assay, showing that eIF3f is a new positive regulator of the Notch pathway. Our results support two new and provocative conclusions: (1) The activated form of Notch needs to be deubiquitinated before being processed by the gamma-secretase activity and entering the nucleus, where it fulfills its transcriptional function. (2) The enzyme accounting for this deubiquitinase activity is eIF3f, known so far as a translation initiation factor. These data improve our knowledge of Notch signaling but also open new avenues of research on the Zomes family and the translation initiation factors.
The highly conserved signaling pathway involving the transmembrane receptor Notch is essential for development, and misregulation of this pathway is linked to many diseases. We previously proposed that the Notch1 receptor is monoubiquitinated during its activation. With the aim of identifying a deubiquinating enzyme that could regulate Notch activation, we demonstrated that eIF3f, known previously as part of the multiprotein translation initiation factor eIF3 complex, harbors an enzymatic activity that acts on Notch. The activated form of Notch is able to interact with eIF3f only in the presence of the E3 ubiquitin ligase Deltex, and Notch needs to be deubiquitinated before it can be cleared and its intracellular domain can enter the nucleus and fulfill its transcriptional function. Our results further decipher the molecular mechanisms of Notch signaling activation, showing that ubiquitination and deubiquitination events are required. Additionally, we show that beyond acting as a translation initiation factor, eIF3f fulfills other functions and has an intrinsic enzymatic activity.
The Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) encoded nuclear antigen (EBNA)-1 regulates virus replication and transcription, and participates in the remodeling of the cellular environment that accompanies EBV induced B-cell immortalization and malignant transformation. The putative cellular targets of these effects of EBNA-1 are largely unknown. To address this issue we have profiled the transcriptional changes induced by short- and long-term expression of EBNA-1 in the EBV negative B-cell lymphoma BJAB. Three hundred and nineteen cellular genes were regulated in a conditional transfectant shortly after EBNA-1 induction while a ten fold higher number of genes was regulated upon continuous EBNA-1 expression. Promoter analysis of the differentially regulated genes demonstrated a significant enrichment of putative EBNA-1 binding sites suggesting that EBNA-1 may directly influence the transcription of a subset of genes. Gene ontology analysis of forty seven genes that were consistently regulated independently on the time of EBNA-1 expression revealed an unexpected enrichment of genes involved in the maintenance of chromatin architecture. The interaction network of the affected gene products suggests that EBNA-1 may promote a broad rearrangement of the cellular transcription landscape by altering the expression of key components of chromatin remodeling complexes.
The Pr55gag (Gag) polyprotein of HIV serves as a scaffold for virion assembly and is thus essential for progeny virion budding and maturation. Gag localizes to the plasma membrane (PM) and membranes of late endosomes, allowing for release of infectious virus directly from the cell membrane and/or upon exocytosis. The host factors involved in Gag trafficking to these sites are largely unknown. Upon activation, CD4+ T cells, the primary target of HIV infection, express the class II transcriptional activator (CIITA) and therefore the MHC class II isotype, HLA-DR. Similar to Gag, HLA-DR localizes to the PM and at the membranes of endosomes and specialized vesicular MHC class II compartments (MIICs). In HIV producer cells, transient HLA-DR expression induces intracellular Gag accumulation and impairs virus release.
Here we demonstrate that both stable and transient expression of CIITA in HIV producer cells does not induce HLA-DR-associated intracellular retention of Gag, but does increase the infectivity of virions. However, neither of these phenomena is due to recapitulation of the class II antigen presentation pathway or CIITA-mediated transcriptional activation of virus genes. Interestingly, we demonstrate that CIITA, apart from its transcriptional effects, acts cytoplasmically to enhance Pr160gag-pol (Gag-Pol) levels and thereby the viral protease and Gag processing, accounting for the increased infectivity of virions from CIITA-expressing cells.
This study demonstrates that CIITA enhances HIV Gag processing, and provides the first evidence of a novel, post-transcriptional, cytoplasmic function for a well-known transactivator.
The narrow species tropisms of Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) and the Kaposi's Sarcoma -associated Herpesvirus (KSHV) have made Murid Herpesvirus-4 (MuHV-4) an important tool for understanding how gammaherpesviruses colonize their hosts. However, while MuHV-4 pathogenesis studies can assign a quantitative importance to individual genes, the complexity of in vivo infection can make the underlying mechanisms hard to discern. Furthermore, the lack of good in vitro MuHV-4 latency/reactivation systems with which to dissect mechanisms at the cellular level has made some parallels with EBV and KSHV hard to draw. Here we achieved control of the MuHV-4 lytic/latent switch in vitro by modifying the 5′ untranslated region of its major lytic transactivator gene, ORF50. We terminated normal ORF50 transcripts by inserting a polyadenylation signal and transcribed ORF50 instead from a down-stream, doxycycline-inducible promoter. In this way we could establish fibroblast clones that maintained latent MuHV-4 episomes without detectable lytic replication. Productive virus reactivation was then induced with doxycycline. We used this system to show that the MuHV-4 K3 gene plays a significant role in protecting reactivating cells against CD8+ T cell recognition.
Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection is associated with several human malignancies. Interferon (IFN) regulatory factor 7 (IRF-7) has several splicing variants, and at least the major splicing variant (IRF-7A) has oncogenic potential and is associated with EBV transformation processes. IRF-7C is an alternative splicing variant with only the DNA-binding domain of IRF-7. Whether IRF-7C is present under physiological conditions and its functions in viral transformation are unknown. In this report, we prove the existence of IRF-7C protein and RNA in certain cells under physiological conditions, and find that high levels of IRF-7C are associated with EBV transformation of human primary B cells in vitro as well as EBV type III latency. EBV latent membrane protein 1 (LMP-1) stimulates IRF-7C expression in B lymphocytes. IRF-7C has oncogenic potential in rodent cells and partially restores the growth properties of EBV-transformed cells under a growth-inhibition condition. A tumor array experiment has identified six primary tumor specimens with high levels of IRF-7C protein—all of them are lymphomas. Furthermore, we show that the expression of IRF-7C is apparently closely associated with other IRF-7 splicing variants. IRF-7C inhibits the function of IRF-7 in transcriptional regulation of IFN genes. These data suggest that EBV may use splicing variants of IRF-7 for its transformation process in two strategies: to use oncogenic properties of various IRF-7 splicing variants, but use one of its splicing variants (IRF-7C) to block the IFN-induction function of IRF-7 that is detrimental for viral transformation. The work provides a novel relation of host/virus interactions, and has expanded our knowledge about IRFs in EBV transformation.
Drosophila melanogaster is widely used to decipher the innate immune system in response to various pathogens. The innate immune response towards persistent virus infections is among the least studied in this model system. We recently discovered a picorna-like virus, the Nora virus which gives rise to persistent and essentially symptom-free infections in Drosophila melanogaster. Here, we have used this virus to study the interaction with its host and with some of the known Drosophila antiviral immune pathways. First, we find a striking variability in the course of the infection, even between flies of the same inbred stock. Some flies are able to clear the Nora virus but not others. This phenomenon seems to be threshold-dependent; flies with a high-titer infection establish stable persistent infections, whereas flies with a lower level of infection are able to clear the virus. Surprisingly, we find that both the clearance of low-level Nora virus infections and the stability of persistent infections are unaffected by mutations in the RNAi pathways. Nora virus infections are also unaffected by mutations in the Toll and Jak-Stat pathways. In these respects, the Nora virus differs from other studied Drosophila RNA viruses.
Manipulation of the ubiquitin proteasome system (UPS) is emerging as a common theme in viral pathogenesis. Some viruses have been shown to encode functional homologs of UPS enzymes, suggesting that a systematic identification of these products may provide new insights into virus-host cell interactions. Ubiquitin-specific proteases, collectively known as deubiquitinating enzymes (DUBs), regulate the activity of the UPS by hydrolyzing ubiquitin peptide or isopeptide bonds. The prediction of viral DUBs based on sequence similarity with known enzymes is hampered by the diversity of viral genomes. In this study sequence alignments, pattern searches, and hidden Markov models were developed for the conserved C- and H-boxes of the known DUB families and used to search the open reading frames (ORFs) of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), a large gammaherpesvirus that has been implicated in the pathogenesis of a broad spectrum of human malignancies of lymphoid and epithelial cell origin. The searches identified a limited number of EBV ORFs that contain putative DUB catalytic domains. DUB activity was confirmed by functional assays and mutation analysis for three high scoring candidates, supporting the usefulness of this bioinformatics approach in predicting distant homologues of cellular enzymes.
All gamma-herpesviruses encode at least one homolog of the cellular enzyme formyl-glycineamide-phosphoribosyl-amidotransferase. Murid herpesvirus-4 (MuHV-4) encodes 3 (ORFs 75a, 75b and 75c), suggesting that at least some copies have acquired new functions. Here we show that the corresponding proteins are all present in virions and localize to infected cell nuclei. Despite these common features, ORFs 75a and 75b did not substitute functionally for a lack of ORF75c, as ORF75c virus knockouts were severely impaired for lytic replication in vitro and for host colonization in vivo. They showed 2 defects: incoming capsids failed to migrate to the nuclear margin following membrane fusion, and genomes that did reach the nucleus failed to initiate normal gene expression. The latter defect was associated with a failure of in-coming virions to disassemble PML bodies. The capsid transport deficit seemed to be functionally more important, since ORF75c− MuHV-4 infected both PML+ and PML− cells poorly. The original host enzyme has therefore evolved into a set of distinct and multi-functional viral tegument proteins. One important function is moving incoming capsids to the nuclear margin for viral genome delivery.
Exposure of adherent cells to DNA damaging agents, such as the bacterial cytolethal distending toxin (CDT) or ionizing radiations (IR), activates the small GTPase RhoA, which promotes the formation of actin stress fibers and delays cell death. The signalling intermediates that regulate RhoA activation and promote cell survival are unknown.
We demonstrate that the nuclear RhoA-specific Guanine nucleotide Exchange Factor (GEF) Net1 becomes dephosphorylated at a critical inhibitory site in cells exposed to CDT or IR. Expression of a dominant negative Net1 or Net1 knock down by iRNA prevented RhoA activation, inhibited the formation of stress fibers, and enhanced cell death, indicating that Net1 activation is required for this RhoA-mediated responses to genotoxic stress. The Net1 and RhoA-dependent signals involved activation of the Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase p38 and its downstream target MAPK-activated protein kinase 2.
Our data highlight the importance of Net1 in controlling RhoA and p38 MAPK mediated cell survival in cells exposed to DNA damaging agents and illustrate a molecular pathway whereby chronic exposure to a bacterial toxin may promote genomic instability.
Viruses lack self-propulsion. To move in multi-cellular hosts they must therefore manipulate infected cells. Herpesviruses provide an archetype for many aspects of host manipulation, but only for alpha-herpesviruses in is there much information about they move. Other herpesviruses are not necessarily the same. Here we show that Murine gamma-herpesvirus-68 (MHV-68) induces the outgrowth of long, branched plasma membrane fronds to create an intercellular network for virion traffic. The fronds were actin-based and RhoA-dependent. Time-lapse imaging showed that the infected cell surface became highly motile and that virions moved on the fronds. This plasma membrane remodelling was driven by the cytoplasmic tail of gp48, a MHV-68 glycoprotein previously implicated in intercellular viral spread. The MHV-68 ORF58 was also required, but its role was simply transporting gp48 to the plasma membrane, since a gp48 mutant exported without ORF58 did not require ORF58 to form membrane fronds either. Together, gp48/ORF58 were sufficient to induce fronds in transfected cells, as were the homologous BDLF2/BMRF2 of Epstein-Barr virus. Gp48/ORF58 therefore represents a conserved module by which gamma-herpesviruses rearrange cellular actin to increase intercellular contacts and thereby promote their spread.
Alterations of cytokine responses are thought to favor the establishment of persistent hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections, enhancing the risk of liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. Here we demonstrate that the expression of the HCV core (C) protein in stably transfected T cells correlates with a selective reduction of interleukin-2 (IL-2) promoter activity and IL-2 production in response to T-cell receptor triggering, whereas the activation of IL-4, IL-10, gamma interferon, and tumor necrosis factor alpha was moderately increased. This altered cytokine expression profile was associated with a perturbation of mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase responses. Extracellular regulated kinase and p38 were constitutively phosphorylated in C-expressing cells, while triggering of the costimulatory c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) signaling cascade and activation of the CD28 response element within the IL-2 promoter appeared to be impaired. The perturbations of MAP kinase phosphorylation could be eliminated by cyclosporine A-mediated inhibition of nuclear factor of activated T cells, suggesting that the inactivation of JNK signaling and hyporesponsiveness to IL-2 induction were downstream consequences of C-induced Ca2+ flux in a manner that mimics the induction of clonal anergy.
Loss of neurons in neurodegenerative diseases is usually preceded by the accumulation of protein deposits that contain components of the ubiquitin/proteasome system. Affected neurons in Alzheimer's disease often accumulate UBB+1, a mutant ubiquitin carrying a 19–amino acid C-terminal extension generated by a transcriptional dinucleotide deletion. Here we show that UBB+1 is a potent inhibitor of ubiquitin-dependent proteolysis in neuronal cells, and that this inhibitory activity correlates with induction of cell cycle arrest. Surprisingly, UBB+1 is recognized as a ubiquitin fusion degradation (UFD) proteasome substrate and ubiquitinated at Lys29 and Lys48. Full blockade of proteolysis requires both ubiquitination sites. Moreover, the inhibitory effect was enhanced by the introduction of multiple UFD signals. Our findings suggest that the inhibitory activity of UBB+1 may be an important determinant of neurotoxicity and contribute to an environment that favors the accumulation of misfolded proteins.
proteasome; neurodegeneration; aggregate; tauopathies; polyglutamine disorders
The human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) protease is essential for production of infectious virus and is therefore a major target for the development of drugs against AIDS. Cellular proteins are also cleaved by the protease, which explains its cytotoxic activity and the consequent failure to establish convenient cell-based protease assays. We have exploited this toxicity to develop a new protease assay that relies on transient expression of an artificial protease precursor harboring the green fluorescent protein (GFP-PR). The precursor is activated in vivo by autocatalytic cleavage, resulting in rapid elimination of protease-expressing cells. Treatment with therapeutic doses of HIV-1 protease inhibitors results in a dose-dependent accumulation of the fluorescent precursor that can be easily detected and quantified by flow cytometric and fluorimetric assays. The precursor provides a convenient and noninfectious model for high-throughput screenings of substances that can interfere with the activity of the protease in living cells.
Proteins can be modified with eight homogenous ubiquitin chains linked by an isopeptide bond between the C-terminus of one ubiquitin and an amine from one of the seven lysines or the N-terminal methionine of the next ubiquitin. These topologically distinct ubiquitin chains signal for many essential cellular functions, such as protein degradation, cell cycle progression, DNA repair, and signal transduction. The lysine 48 (K48)-linked ubiquitin chain is one of the most abundant chains and a major proteasome-targeting signal in cells. Despite recent advancements in imaging linkage-specific polyubiquitin chains, no tool is available for imaging K48 chains in live cells. Here we report on a ubiquitination-induced fluorescence complementation (UiFC) assay for detecting K48 ubiquitin chains in vitro and in live cells. For this assay, two nonfluorescent fragments of a fluorescent protein were fused to the ubiquitin-interacting motifs (UIMs) of epsin1 protein. Upon simultaneous binding to a ubiquitin chain, the nonfluorescent fragments of the two fusion proteins are brought in close proximity to reconstitute fluorescence. When used in vitro, UiFC preferentially detected K48 ubiquitin chains with excellent signal-to-noise ratio. Time-lapse imaging revealed that UiFC is capable of monitoring increases in polyubiquitination induced by treatment with proteasome inhibitor, by agents that induce stress, and during mitophagy in live cells.