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author:("Wang, zhechun")
1.  Shutoff of BZLF1 Gene Expression Is Necessary for Immortalization of Primary B Cells by Epstein-Barr Virus 
Journal of Virology  2012;86(15):8086-8096.
The BZLF1 gene controls the switch between latent and lytic infection by Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). We previously reported that both the ZV and ZIIR elements within the BZLF1 promoter, Zp, are potent transcription silencers within the context of an intact EBV genome. We report here identification of another sequence element, ZV′, which synergized with ZV in repressing Zp via binding ZEB1 or ZEB2. We then determined the phenotype of a variant of EBV strain B95.8 in which the ZV, ZV′, and ZIIR elements were concurrently mutated. HEK293 cell lines infected with this triple mutant (tmt) virus spontaneously synthesized 6- to 10-fold more viral BZLF1, BRLF1, BMRF1, and BLLF1 RNAs, 3- to 6-fold more viral Zta, Rta, and EAD proteins, 3- to 5-fold more viral DNA, and 7- to 9-fold more infectious virus than did 293 cell lines latently infected with either the ZV ZV′ double mutant (dmt) or ZIIR mutant (mt) virus. While ZV ZV′ ZIIR tmt EBV efficiently infected human primary blood B cells in vitro, it was highly defective in immortalizing them. Instead of the nearly complete silencing of BZLF1 gene expression that occurs within 4 days after primary infection with wild-type EBV, the ZV ZV′ ZIIR tmt-infected cells continued to synthesize BZLF1 RNA, with 90% of them dying within 9 days postinfection. BL41 cells infected with this “superlytic” virus also exhibited increased synthesis of BZLF1 and BMRF1 RNAs. Thus, we conclude that the ZV, ZV′, and ZIIR silencing elements act synergistically to repress transcription from Zp, thereby tightly controlling BZLF1 gene expression, which is crucial for establishing and maintaining EBV latency.
PMCID: PMC3421699  PMID: 22623769
2.  Manipulation of PK-M mutually exclusive alternative splicing by antisense oligonucleotides 
Open Biology  2012;2(10):120133.
Alternative splicing of the pyruvate kinase M gene involves a choice between mutually exclusive exons 9 and 10. Use of exon 10 to generate the M2 isoform is crucial for aerobic glycolysis (the Warburg effect) and tumour growth. We previously demonstrated that splicing enhancer elements that activate exon 10 are mainly found in exon 10 itself, and deleting or mutating these elements increases the inclusion of exon 9 in cancer cells. To systematically search for new enhancer elements in exon 10 and develop an effective pharmacological method to force a switch from PK-M2 to PK-M1, we carried out an antisense oligonucleotide (ASO) screen. We found potent ASOs that target a novel enhancer in exon 10 and strongly switch the splicing of endogenous PK-M transcripts to include exon 9. We further show that the ASO-mediated switch in alternative splicing leads to apoptosis in glioblastoma cell lines, and this is caused by the downregulation of PK-M2, and not by the upregulation of PK-M1. These data highlight the potential of ASO-mediated inhibition of PK-M2 splicing as therapy for cancer.
PMCID: PMC3498831  PMID: 23155487
alternative splicing; antisense oligonucleotides; cancer
3.  Exon-centric regulation of pyruvate kinase M alternative splicing via mutually exclusive exons 
Alternative splicing of the pyruvate kinase M gene (PK-M) can generate the M2 isoform and promote aerobic glycolysis and tumor growth. However, the cancer-specific alternative splicing regulation of PK-M is not completely understood. Here, we demonstrate that PK-M is regulated by reciprocal effects on the mutually exclusive exons 9 and 10, such that exon 9 is repressed and exon 10 is activated in cancer cells. Strikingly, exonic, rather than intronic, cis-elements are key determinants of PK-M splicing isoform ratios. Using a systematic sub-exonic duplication approach, we identify a potent exonic splicing enhancer in exon 10, which differs from its homologous counterpart in exon 9 by only two nucleotides. We identify SRSF3 as one of the cognate factors, and show that this serine/arginine-rich protein activates exon 10 and mediates changes in glucose metabolism. These findings provide mechanistic insights into the complex regulation of alternative splicing of a key regulator of the Warburg effect, and also have implications for other genes with a similar pattern of alternative splicing.
PMCID: PMC3493165  PMID: 22044881
alternative splicing; cancer metabolism; pyruvate kinase; SRSF3
4.  Either ZEB1 or ZEB2/SIP1 Can Play a Central Role in Regulating the Epstein-Barr Virus Latent-Lytic Switch in a Cell-Type-Specific Manner▿  
Journal of Virology  2010;84(12):6139-6152.
We previously reported that the cellular protein ZEB1 can repress expression of the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) BZLF1 gene in transient transfection assays by directly binding its promoter, Zp. We also reported that EBV containing a 2-bp substitution mutation in the ZEB-binding ZV element of Zp spontaneously reactivated out of latency into lytic replication at a higher frequency than did wild-type EBV. Here, using small interfering RNA (siRNA) and short hairpin RNA (shRNA) technologies, we definitively show that ZEB1 is, indeed, a key player in maintaining EBV latency in some epithelial and B-lymphocytic cell lines. However, in other EBV-positive epithelial and B-cell lines, another zinc finger E-box-binding protein, ZEB2/SIP1, is the key player. Both ZEB1 and ZEB2 can bind Zp via the ZV element. In EBV-positive cells containing only ZEB1, knockdown of ZEB1 led to viral reactivation out of latency, with synthesis of EBV immediate-early and early lytic gene products. However, in EBV-positive cells containing both ZEBs, ZEB2, not ZEB1, was the primary ZEB family member bound to Zp. Knockdown of ZEB2, but not ZEB1, led to EBV lytic reactivation. Thus, we conclude that either ZEB1 or ZEB2 can play a central role in the maintenance of EBV latency, doing so in a cell-type-dependent manner.
PMCID: PMC2876653  PMID: 20375168
5.  ZEB1 Regulates the Latent-Lytic Switch in Infection by Epstein-Barr Virus 
PLoS Pathogens  2007;3(12):e194.
The immediate-early (IE) BZLF1 gene of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) regulates the switch between latent and lytic infection by EBV. We previously showed that the cellular transcription factor ZEB1 binds to a sequence element, ZV, located at nt −17 to −12 relative to the transcription initiation site of the BZLF1 promoter, Zp, repressing transcription from Zp in a transient transfection assay. Here, we report the phenotype in the context of a whole EBV genome of a variant of EBV strain B95.8 containing a 2-bp substitution mutation in the ZV element of Zp that reduced, but did not eliminate, ZEB1 binding to Zp. Strikingly, epithelial 293 cells latently infected with the EBV ZV mutant spontaneously produced IE-, early-, and late-gene products and infectious virus, while wild-type (WT)-infected 293 cells did not and have never been reported to do so. Furthermore, treatment with the chemical inducers sodium butyrate and 12-O-tetradecanoyl-phorbol-13-acetate (TPA) led to an additional order-of-magnitude production of infectious virus in the ZV mutant–infected 293 cells, but still no virus in the WT-infected 293 cells. Similarly, ZV mutant–infected Burkitt's lymphoma BJAB cells accumulated at least 10-fold more EBV IE mRNAs than did WT-infected BJAB cells, with TPA or sodium butyrate treatment leading to an additional 5- to 10-fold accumulation of EBV IE mRNAs in the ZV mutant–infected cells. Thus, we conclude that ZEB1 binding to Zp plays a central role in regulating the latent-lytic switch in EBV-infected epithelial and B cells, suggesting ZEB1 as a target for lytic-induction therapies in EBV-associated malignancies.
Author Summary
Ninety percent of people in the world become infected with Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). The virus can infect both epithelial and B cells, either making more virus and killing the cell or establishing a latent form of infection where it is stably maintained in the host. EBV infection is associated with the development of some types of cancer. We show here that a mere 2-bp substitution mutation in the silencer element, ZV, of the promoter of EBV's immediate-early BZLF1 gene in the context of a whole EBV genome can lead to spontaneous reactivation of EBV out of latency into lytic replication, with production of infectious virus in some cells. The presence of the mutation also (i) made the virus more responsive to reactivation following treatment with chemical inducers, and (ii) disrupted binding of a cellular transcriptional repressor protein, ZEB1, to the BZLF1 promoter. Our work suggests a method to kill EBV-infected cancer cells by treating them with agents that lower the repressor activity of ZEB1. It also suggests one may be able to generate a vaccine against EBV infection using a constitutively lytic EBV strain made by knocking out the silencer elements of the BZLF1 promoter.
PMCID: PMC2134958  PMID: 18085824

Results 1-5 (5)