Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) lytic replication involves complex processes, including DNA synthesis, DNA cleavage and packaging, and virion egress. These processes require many different lytic gene products, but the mechanisms of their actions remain unclear, especially for DNA cleavage and packaging. According to sequence homology analysis, EBV BALF3, encoded by the third leftward open reading frame of the BamHI-A fragment in the viral genome, is a homologue of herpes simplex virus type 1 UL28. This gene product is believed to possess the properties of a terminase, such as nucleolytic activity on newly synthesized viral DNA and translocation of unit length viral genomes into procapsids. In order to characterize EBV BALF3, the protein was produced by and purified from recombinant baculoviruses and examined in an enzymatic reaction in vitro, which determined that EBV BALF3 acts as an endonuclease and its activity is modulated by Mg2+, Mn2+, and ATP. Moreover, in EBV-positive epithelial cells, BALF3 was expressed and transported from the cytoplasm into the nucleus following induction of the lytic cycle, and gene silencing of BALF3 caused a reduction of DNA packaging and virion release. Interestingly, suppression of BALF3 expression also decreased the efficiency of DNA synthesis. On the basis of these results, we suggest that EBV BALF3 is involved simultaneously in DNA synthesis and packaging and is required for the production of mature virions.
IMPORTANCE Virus lytic replication is essential to produce infectious virions, which is responsible for virus survival and spread. This work shows that an uncharacterized gene product of the human herpesvirus Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), BALF3, is expressed during the lytic cycle. In addition, BALF3 mediates an endonucleolytic reaction and is involved in viral DNA synthesis and packaging, leading to influence on the production of mature virions. According to sequence homology and physical properties, the lytic gene product BALF3 is considered a terminase in EBV. These findings identify a novel viral gene with an important role in contributing to a better understanding of the EBV life cycle.
Nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) is a head and neck cancer prevalent throughout Southern China and Southeast Asia. Patient death following relapse after primary treatment remains all too common but the cause of NPC relapse is unclear. Clinical and epidemiological studies have revealed the high correlation among NPC development, Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) reactivation and host genomic instability. Previously, recurrent EBV reactivation was shown to cause massive genetic alterations and enhancement of tumor progression in NPC cells and these may be required for NPC relapse. Here, EBV BALF3 has the ability to induce micronuclei and DNA strand breaks. After recurrent expression of BALF3 in NPC cells, genomic copy number aberrations, determined by array-based comparative genomic hybridization, had accumulated to a significant extent and tumorigenic features, such as cell migration, cell invasion and spheroid formation, increased with the rounds of induction. In parallel experiments, cells after highly recurrent induction developed into larger tumor nodules than control cells when inoculated into NOD/SCID mice. Furthermore, RNA microarrays showed that differential expression of multiple cancer capability-related genes and oncogenes increased with recurrent BALF3 expression and these changes correlated with genetic aberrations. Therefore, EBV BALF3 is a potential factor that mediates the impact of EBV on NPC relapse.
nasopharyngeal carcinoma; relapse; Epstein-Barr virus; BALF3; genomic instability
Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection is associated with undifferentiated nasopharyngeal carcinomas (NPC). A distinct seroreactivity pattern to EBV is predictive of subsequent risk of sporadic and familial nasopharyngeal carcinomas. There are currently no accepted screening tools for guiding the clinical management of individuals at high-risk for nasopharyngeal carcinomas, particularly unaffected relatives from nasopharyngeal carcinoma multiplex families. Therefore, the reproducibility of a panel of largely synthetic peptide-based anti-EBV antibody ELISAs was evaluated and their ability to distinguish nasopharyngeal carcinoma cases from controls was explored. IgG and IgA antibodies against 6 different EBV antigens (10 assays, total) were tested on sera from 97 individuals representing the full spectrum of anti-EBV seroprevalence (i.e., healthy individuals with no known EBV seroreactivity, healthy individuals with known EBV seroreactivity, and nasopharyngeal carcinoma cases). Each specimen was tested in triplicate to assess within-batch and across-batch variation, and the triplicate testing was repeated on two separate days. Reproducibility was assessed by the coefficients of variation (CV) and intraclass correlation coefficients (ICC). All markers were detectable in 17% or more of samples. For all but one marker, the overall, within-batch, and across-batch CVs were below 15%, and the ICCs were above 70% for all but three markers. Sensitivity of these markers to detect prevalent nasopharyngeal carcinomas ranged from 22–100%, and among unaffected controls, most distinguished those with and without known seropositivity. In conclusion, a large number of EBV markers can be measured reliably in serum samples using peptide-based anti-EBV ELISAs.
Epstein-Barr virus; EBNA1; VCA; IgA; nasopharyngeal carcinoma; screening
N-nitroso compounds (NOCs) and Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) reactivation have been suggested to play a role in the development of nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC). Although chemicals have been shown to be a risk factor contributing to the carcinogenesis of NPC, the underlying mechanism is not fully understood. We demonstrated recently that N-methyl-N’-nitro-N-nitrosoguanidine (MNNG) enhances the genomic instability and tumorigenicity of NPC cells via induction of EBV reactivation. However, the mechanisms that trigger EBV reactivation from latency remain unclear. Here, we address the role of ROS in induction of EBV reactivation under MNNG treatment. EBV reactivation was induced in over 70% of EBV-positive NA cells and the promoter of Rta (Rp) was activated after MNNG treatment. Inhibitor experiments revealed ATM, p38 MAPK and JNK were activated by ROS and involved in MNNG-induced EBV reactivation. Significantly, ROS scavengers N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC), catalase and reduced glutathione inhibited EBV reactivation under MNNG and H2O2 treatment, suggesting ROS mediate EBV reactivation. The p53 was essential for EBV reactivation and the Rp activation by MNNG. Moreover, the p53 was phosphorylated, translocated into nucleus, and bound to Rp following ROS stimulation. The results suggest ROS play an important role in initiation of EBV reactivation by MNNG through a p53-dependent mechanism. Our findings demonstrate novel signaling mechanisms used by NOCs to induce EBV reactivation and provide a novel insight into NOCs link the EBV reactivation in the contribution to the development of NPC. Notably, this study indicates that antioxidants might be effective for inhibiting N-nitroso compound-induced EBV reactivation and therefore could be promising preventive and therapeutic agents for EBV reactivation-associated malignancies.
Endocan (or called Esm-1) has been shown to have tumorigenic activities and its expression is associated with poor prognosis in various cancers. Latent membrane protein 1 (LMP1) is an Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-encoded oncoprotein and has been shown to play an important role in the pathogenesis of EBV-associated nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC). To further understand the role of LMP1 in the pathogenesis of NPC, microarray analysis of LMP1-regulated genes in epithelial cells was performed. We found that endocan was one of the major cellular genes upregulated by LMP1. This induction of endocan by LMP1 was confirmed in several epithelial cell lines including an NPC cell line. Upregulation of endocan by LMP1 was found to be mediated through the CTAR1 and CTAR2 domains of LMP1 and through the LMP1-activated NF-κB, MEK-ERK and JNK signaling pathways. To study whether endocan was expressed in NPC and whether endocan expression was associated with LMP1 expression in NPC, the expression of endocan and LMP1 in tumor tissues from 42 NPC patients was evaluated by immunohistochemistry. Expression of endocan was found in 52% of NPC specimens. Significant correlation between LMP1 and endocan expression was observed (p<0.0001). Moreover, NPC patients with endocan expression were found to have a shorter survival than NPC patients without endocan expression (p=0.0104, log-rank test). Univariate and Multivariate analyses revealed that endocan was a potential prognostic factor for NPC. Finally, we demonstrated that endocan could stimulate the migration and invasion ability of endothelial cells and this activity of endocan was dependent on the glycan moiety and the phenylalanine-rich region of endocan. Together, these studies not only identify a new molecular marker that may predict the survival of NPC patients but also provide a new insight to the pathogenesis of NPC.
Seroepidemiological studies imply a correlation between Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) reactivation and the development of nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC). N-nitroso compounds, phorbols, and butyrates are chemicals found in food and herb samples collected from NPC high-risk areas. These chemicals have been reported to be risk factors contributing to the development of NPC, however, the underlying mechanism is not fully understood. We have demonstrated previously that low dose N-methyl-N’-nitro-N-nitrosoguanidine (MNNG, 0.1 µg/ml) had a synergistic effect with 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA) and sodium butyrate (SB) in enhancing EBV reactivation and genome instability in NPC cells harboring EBV. Considering that residents in NPC high-risk areas may contact regularly with these chemical carcinogens, it is vital to elucidate the relation between chemicals and EBV and their contributions to the carcinogenesis of NPC. In this study, we constructed a cell culture model to show that genome instability, alterations of cancer hallmark gene expression, and tumorigenicity were increased after recurrent EBV reactivation in NPC cells following combined treatment of TPA/SB and MNNG. NPC cells latently infected with EBV, NA, and the corresponding EBV-negative cell, NPC-TW01, were periodically treated with MNNG, TPA/SB, or TPA/SB combined with MNNG. With chemically-induced recurrent reactivation of EBV, the degree of genome instability was significantly enhanced in NA cells treated with a combination of TPA/SB and MNNG than those treated individually. The Matrigel invasiveness, as well as the tumorigenicity in mouse, was also enhanced in NA cells after recurrent EBV reactivation. Expression profile analysis by microarray indicates that many carcinogenesis-related genes were altered after recurrent EBV reactivation, and several aberrations observed in cell lines correspond to alterations in NPC lesions. These results indicate that cooperation between chemical carcinogens can enhance the reactivation of EBV and, over recurrent reactivations, lead to alteration of cancer hallmark gene expression with resultant enhancement of tumorigenesis in NPC.
A case-control study was conducted to evaluate the role of adult diet on nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) in Taiwan.
A total of 375 incident NPC cases and 327 controls matched to the cases on sex, age, and residence were recruited between July 1991 and December 1994. A structured questionnaire inquiring complete dietary history, socio-demographic characteristics, and other potential confounding factors was used in the personal interview. Unconditional logistic regression analysis was used to estimate multivariate-adjusted odds ratio (ORadj) with 95% confidence interval (CI) after accounting for known risk factors.
Fresh fish (ORadj, 0.56; 95% CI, 0.38–0.83 for the highest vs. lowest tertile of intake), green tea (ORadj, 0.61; 95% CI, 0.40–0.91 for drinking ≥1 times/week vs. never) and coffee (ORadj, 0.56; 95% CI, 0.37–0.85 for drinking ≥0.5 times/week vs. never) were inversely associated with the NPC risk. No association with NPC risk was observed for the intake of meats, salted fish, fresh vegetables, fruits and milk. Intake of vitamin A from plant sources was associated with a decreased NPC risk (ORadj, 0.62; 95% CI, 0.41–0.94 for the highest vs. lowest tertile).
The study findings suggest that certain adult dietary patterns might protect against the development of NPC.
Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) induces an uncoordinated S-phase-like cellular environment coupled with multiple prophase-like events in cells replicating the virus. The EBV encoded Ser/Thr kinase BGLF4 has been shown to induce premature chromosome condensation through activation of condensin and topoisomerase II and reorganization of the nuclear lamina to facilitate the nuclear egress of nucleocapsids in a pathway mimicking Cdk1. However, the observation that RB is hyperphosphorylated in the presence of BGLF4 raised the possibility that BGLF4 may have a Cdk2-like activity to promote S-phase progression. Here, we investigated the regulatory effects of BGLF4 on cell cycle progression and found that S-phase progression and DNA synthesis were interrupted by BGLF4 in mammalian cells. Expression of BGLF4 did not compensate Cdk1 defects for DNA replication in S. cerevisiae. Using time-lapse microscopy, we found the fate of individual HeLa cells was determined by the expression level of BGLF4. In addition to slight cell growth retardation, BGLF4 elicits abnormal chromosomal structure and micronucleus formation in 293 and NCP-TW01 cells. In Saos-2 cells, BGLF4 induced the hyperphosphorylation of co-transfected RB, while E2F1 was not released from RB-E2F1 complexes. The E2F1 regulated activities of the cyclin D1 and ZBRK1 promoters were suppressed by BGLF4 in a dose dependent manner. Detection with phosphoamino acid specific antibodies revealed that, in addition to Ser780, phosphorylation of the DNA damage-responsive Ser612 on RB was enhanced by BGLF4. Taken together, our study indicates that BGLF4 may directly or indirectly induce a DNA damage signal that eventually interferes with host DNA synthesis and delays S-phase progression.
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
In the present study, the authors compared the long-term risk of nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) of male participants in an NPC multiplex family cohort with that of controls in a community cohort in Taiwan after adjustment for anti-Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) seromarkers and cigarette smoking. A total of 43 incident NPC cases were identified from the 1,019 males in the NPC multiplex family cohort and the 9,622 males in the community cohort, for a total of 8,061 person-years and 185,587 person-years, respectively. The adjusted hazard ratio was 6.8 (95% confidence interval (CI): 2.3, 20.1) for the multiplex family cohort compared with the community cohort. In the evaluation of anti-EBV viral capsid antigen immunoglobulin A and anti-EBV deoxyribonuclease, the adjusted hazard ratios were 2.8 (95% CI: 1.3, 6.0) and 15.1 (95% CI: 4.2, 54.1) for those positive for 1 EBV seromarker and positive for both seromarkers, respectively, compared with those negative for both EBV seromarkers. The adjusted hazard ratio was 31.0 (95% CI: 9.7, 98.7) for participants who reported a family history of NPC and who were anti-EBV-seropositive compared with individuals without such a history who were anti-EBV-seronegative. The findings suggest that both family history of NPC and anti-EBV seropositivity are important determinants of subsequent NPC risk and that the effect of family history on NPC risk cannot be fully explained by mediation through EBV serologic responses.
carcinoma; cohort studies; herpesvirus 4, human
Epstein–Barr virus (EBV) Rta belongs to a lytic switch gene family that is evolutionarily conserved in all gamma-herpesviruses. Emerging evidence indicates that cell cycle arrest is a common means by which herpesviral immediate-early protein hijacks the host cell to advance the virus's lytic cycle progression. To examine the role of Rta in cell cycle regulation, we recently established a doxycycline (Dox)-inducible Rta system in 293 cells. In this cell background, inducible Rta modulated the levels of signature G1 arrest proteins, followed by induction of the cellular senescence marker, SA-β-Gal. To delineate the relationship between Rta-induced cell growth arrest and EBV reactivation, recombinant viral genomes were transferred into Rta-inducible 293 cells. Somewhat unexpectedly, we found that Dox-inducible Rta reactivated both EBV and Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV), to similar efficacy. As a consequence, the Rta-mediated EBV and KSHV lytic replication systems, designated as EREV8 and ERKV, respectively, were homogenous, robust, and concurrent with cell death likely due to permissive lytic replication. In addition, the expression kinetics of EBV lytic genes in Dox-treated EREV8 cells was similar to that of their KSHV counterparts in Dox-induced ERKV cells, suggesting that a common pathway is used to disrupt viral latency in both cell systems. When the time course was compared, cell cycle arrest was achieved between 6 and 48 h, EBV or KSHV reactivation was initiated abruptly at 48 h, and the cellular senescence marker was not detected until 120 h after Dox treatment. These results lead us to hypothesize that in 293 cells, Rta-induced G1 cell cycle arrest could provide (1) an ideal environment for virus reactivation if EBV or KSHV coexists and (2) a preparatory milieu for cell senescence if no viral genome is available. The latter is hypothetical in a transient-lytic situation.
Association between specific human leukocyte antigens (HLA) alleles and NPC have been reported for sporadic NPC but studies of familial NPC are lacking. We evaluated this association with familial NPC in a study of 301 NPC cases and 1010 family and community controls from Taiwan. Class I HLA alleles were characterized using a sequence-based typing protocol. Allele frequencies between case and control groups were compared by chi-square or exact tests. For alleles associated with NPC, odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were calculated. Similar allelic frequency distribution and HLA associations were found as those previously reported for sporadic NPC: protective effect for HLA-A*1101 and increased risk for HLA-A*0207, HLA-A*3303, HLA-B*3802, and HLA-B*5801. Overall, the magnitude of observed associations was weakest when cases were compared to sibling controls and strongest when compared to unrelated community controls. Evaluating the joint effect of HLAA*0207 and HLA-B*4601, individuals who were carriers of HLA-A*0207 with or without the presence of HLA-B*4601 had a 1.9-fold (95% CI = 1.0-3.4) and 2.1-fold (95% CI = 0.83-5.3) risk of NPC, respectively. Conversely, carriers of HLA-B*4601 in the absence of HLA-A*0207 had a 50% reduction in NPC risk (95% CI = 0.27-0.93). Comparable findings from our family study and those from previous sporadic studies were found with the notable exception of a lack of positive association between HLA-B*4601 and familial NPC in the absence of HLA-A*0207. This finding requires replication in larger studies.
Human leukocyte antigens; nasopharyngeal carcinoma; epidemiology; genetics
Epstein–Barr Virus (EBV) DNase (BGLF5) is an alkaline nuclease and has been suggested to be important in the viral life cycle. However, its effect on host cells remains unknown. Serological and histopathological studies implied that EBV DNase seems to be correlated with carcinogenesis. Therefore, we investigate the effect of EBV DNase on epithelial cells. Here, we report that expression of EBV DNase induces increased formation of micronucleus, an indicator of genomic instability, in human epithelial cells. We also demonstrate, using γH2AX formation and comet assay, that EBV DNase induces DNA damage. Furthermore, using host cell reactivation assay, we find that EBV DNase expression repressed damaged DNA repair in various epithelial cells. Western blot and quantitative PCR analyses reveal that expression of repair-related genes is reduced significantly in cells expressing EBV DNase. Host shut-off mutants eliminate shut-off expression of repair genes and repress damaged DNA repair, suggesting that shut-off function of BGLF5 contributes to repression of DNA repair. In addition, EBV DNase caused chromosomal aberrations and increased the microsatellite instability (MSI) and frequency of genetic mutation in human epithelial cells. Together, we propose that EBV DNase induces genomic instability in epithelial cells, which may be through induction of DNA damage and also repression of DNA repair, subsequently increases MSI and genetic mutations, and may contribute consequently to the carcinogenesis of human epithelial cells.
Latent membrane protein 1 (LMP1), an Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) oncoprotein, mimics a constitutively activated tumor necrosis factor receptor and activates various signaling pathways, including phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/Akt. LMP1 is essential for EBV-mediated B-cell transformation and is sufficient to transform several cell lines. Cellular transformation has been associated strongly with genomic instability, while DNA repair plays an important role in maintaining genomic stability. Previously, we have shown that LMP1 represses DNA repair by the C-terminal activating region 1 (CTAR1) in human epithelial cells. In the present study, we demonstrate that the PI3K/Akt pathway is required for LMP1-mediated repression of DNA repair. Through the LMP1/PI3K/Akt pathway, FOXO3a, which can induce DNA repair, is inactivated because of phosphorylation and relocalization. Expression of a constitutively active FOXO3a mutant can rescue LMP1-mediated repression of DNA repair. Furthermore, LMP1 can decrease the expression of DNA damage-binding protein 1 (DDB1), which functions in nucleotide excision repair, through the PI3K/Akt/FOXO3a pathway. LMP1-mediated repression of DNA repair is restored by DDB1, although only partially. These results suggest that LMP1 triggers the PI3K/Akt pathway to inactivate FOXO3a and decrease DDB1, which can lead to repression of DNA repair and may contribute to genomic instability in human epithelial cells.
The tumor suppressor gene p53 plays a central role in the maintenance of normal cell growth and genetic integrity, while its impact on the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) life cycle remains elusive. We found that p53 is important for histone deacetylase inhibitor-induced EBV lytic gene expression in nasopharyngeal carcinoma cells. Restoration of p53 in p53-null, EBV-infected H1299 cells augments the potential for viral lytic cycle initiation. Evidence from reporter assays demonstrated that p53 contributes to the expression of the immediate-early viral Zta gene. Further analysis indicated that the DNA-binding ability of p53 and phosphorylation of Ser392 may be critical. This study provides the first evidence that p53 is involved in the regulation of EBV lytic cycle initiation.
The C-terminal repeating sequences of Clostridium difficile toxin A (designated ARU) are homologous to the carbohydrate-binding domain of streptococcal glucosyltransferases (GTFs) that were recently identified as potent modulins. To test the hypothesis that ARU might exert a similar biological activity on endothelial cells, recombinant ARU (rARU), which was noncytotoxic to cell cultures, was analyzed using human umbilical vein endothelial cells. The rARU could bind directly to endothelial cells in a serum- and calcium-dependent manner and induce the production of interleukin-6 (IL-6), IL-8, and monocyte chemoattractant protein 1 in a dose-dependent manner. An oligosaccharide binding assay indicated that rARU, but not GTFC, binds preferentially to Lewis antigens and 3′HSO3-containing oligosaccharides. Binding of rARU to human endothelial or intestinal cells correlated directly with the expression of Lewis Y antigen. Bound rARU directly activated mitogen-activated protein kinases and the NF-κB signaling pathway in endothelial cells to release biologically active chemokines and adhesion molecules that promoted migration in a transwell assay and the adherence of polymorphonuclear and mononuclear cells to the endothelial cells. These results suggest that ARU may bind to multiple carbohydrate motifs to exert its biological activity on human endothelial cells.
Previous studies of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) replication focused mainly on the viral and cellular factors involved in replication compartment assembly and controlling the cell cycle. However, little is known about how EBV reorganizes nuclear architecture and the chromatin territories. In EBV-positive nasopharyngeal carcinoma NA cells or Akata cells, we noticed that cellular chromatin becomes highly condensed upon EBV reactivation. In searching for the possible mechanisms involved, we found that transient expression of EBV BGLF4 kinase induces unscheduled chromosome condensation, nuclear lamina disassembly, and stress fiber rearrangements, independently of cellular DNA replication and Cdc2 activity. BGLF4 interacts with condensin complexes, the major components in mitotic chromosome assembly, and induces condensin phosphorylation at Cdc2 consensus motifs. BGLF4 also stimulates the decatenation activity of topoisomerase II, suggesting that it may induce chromosome condensation through condensin and topoisomerase II activation. The ability to induce chromosome condensation is conserved in another gammaherpesvirus kinase, murine herpesvirus 68 ORF36. Together, these findings suggest a novel mechanism by which gammaherpesvirus kinases may induce multiple premature mitotic events to provide more extrachromosomal space for viral DNA replication and successful egress of nucleocapsid from the nucleus.
Recruitment of monocytes plays important roles during vegetation formation and endocardial inflammation in the pathogenesis of infective endocarditis (IE). Bacterial antigens or modulins can activate endothelial cells through the expression of cytokines or adhesion molecules and modulate the recruitment of leukocytes. We hypothesized that glucosyltransferases (GTFs), modulins of viridans group streptococci, may act directly to up-regulate the expression of adhesion molecules and also interleukin-6 (IL-6) to augment monocyte attachment to endothelial cells. Using primary cultured human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) as an in vitro model, we demonstrated that GTFs (in the cell-bound or free form) could specifically modulate the expression of IL-6, and also adhesion molecules, in a dose- and time-dependent manner. Results of inhibition assays suggested that enhanced expression of adhesion molecules was dependent on the activation of nuclear factor κB (NF-κB) and extracellular signal-regulated kinase and that p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase pathways also contributed to the release of IL-6. Streptococcus-infected HUVECs or treatment with purified IL-6 plus soluble IL-6 receptor α enhanced the expression of ICAM-1 and the adherence of the monocytic cell line U937. These results suggest that streptococcal GTFs might play an important role in recruiting monocytic cells during inflammation in IE through induction of adhesion molecules and IL-6, a cytokine involved in transition from neutrophil to monocyte recruitment.
The glucosyltransferases (GTFs) of viridans streptococci, common pathogens of infective endocarditis, are extracellular proteins that convert sucrose into exopolysaccharides and glucans. GTFs B, C, and D of Streptococcus mutans are modulins that induce, in vitro and in vivo, the production of cytokines, in particular interleukin-6 (IL-6), from monocytes. The roles of S. mutans GTFs in infectivity and inflammation in situ were tested in a rat experimental model of endocarditis. No significant differences in infectivity, in terms of 95% infective dose and densities of bacteria inside vegetations, were observed between laboratory strain GS-5 and two clinical isolates or isogenic mutant NHS1DD, defective in the expression of GTFs. In aortic valves and surrounding tissues, IL-6 was detected by Western blots and immunostaining 24 h after GS-5 infection, was maintained over 72 h, and was followed by production of tumor necrosis factor alpha but not IL-1β. Animals infected with NHS1DD showed markedly lower levels of IL-6 (less than 5% of that of parental GS-5-infected rats), while tumor necrosis factor alpha was unaffected. In contrast, animals infected with NHR1DD, another isogenic mutant expressing only GtfB, showed a much smaller reduction (down to 56%). These results suggest that GTFs are specific modulins that act during acute inflammation, inducing IL-6 from endothelial cells surrounding the infected valves without affecting bacterial colonization in vegetations, and that IL-6 might persist in chronic inflammation in endocarditis.
Platelet aggregation plays an important role in the pathogenesis of infective endocarditis induced by viridans streptococci or staphylococci. Aggregation induced in vitro involves direct binding of bacteria to platelets through multiple surface components. Using platelet aggregometry, we demonstrated in this study that two Streptococcus mutans laboratory strains, GS-5 and Xc, and two clinical isolates could aggregate platelets in an irreversible manner in rabbit platelet-rich plasma preparations. The aggregation was partially inhibited by prostaglandin I2 (PGI2) in a dose-dependent manner. Whole bacteria and heated bacterial cell wall extracts were able to induce aggregation. Cell wall polysaccharides extracted from the wild-type Xc strain, containing serotype-specific polysaccharides which are composed of rhamnose-glucose polymers (RGPs), could induce platelet aggregation in the presence of plasma. Aggregation induced by the serotype-specific RGP-deficient mutant Xc24R was reduced by 50% compared to the wild-type strain Xc. In addition, cell wall polysaccharides extracted from Xc24R failed to induce platelet aggregation. The Xc strain, but not the Xc24R mutant, could induce platelet aggregation when preincubated with plasma. Both Xc and Xc24R failed to induce platelets to aggregate in plasma depleted of immunoglobulin G (IgG), but aggregation was restored by replenishment of anti-serotype c IgG. Analysis by flow cytometry showed that S. mutans RGPs could bind directly to rabbit and human platelets. Furthermore, cell wall polysaccharides extracted from the Xc, but not the Xc24R, strain could induce pseudopod formation of both rabbit and human platelets in the absence of plasma. Distinct from the aggregation of rabbit platelets, bacterium-triggered aggregation of human platelets required a prolonged lag phase and could be blocked completely by PGI2. RGPs also trigger aggregation of human platelets in a donor-dependent manner, either as a transient and reversible or a complete and irreversible response. These results indicated that serotype-specific RGPs, a soluble product of S. mutans, could directly bind to and activate platelets from both rabbit and human. In the presence of plasma containing IgG specific to RGPs, RGPs could trigger aggregation of both human and rabbit platelets, but the degree of aggregation in human platelets depends on the donors.
Production of proinflammatory cytokines is implicated in the pathogenesis of viridans streptococcus-induced α-streptococcal shock syndrome and infective endocarditis. Streptococcus mutans, one of the opportunistic pathogens causing infective endocarditis, was reported previously to stimulate monocytes and epithelial and endothelial cells in vitro to produce various cytokines. We found that glucosyltransferases (GTFs) GtfC and GtfD of S. mutans stimulated predominantly the production of interleukin-6 (IL-6) from T cells cultured in vitro. The level of IL-6 but not of tumor necrosis factor alpha in blood was significantly elevated when rats were injected intravenously with S. mutans GS-5, whereas IL-6 was detected at a much lower level when rats were challenged with NHS1DD, an isogenic mutant defective in the expression of GTFs. The serum IL-6 level was elevated in patients with endocarditis caused by different species of viridans streptococci which express GTF homologues. Affinity column-purified GTFs reduced the levels of detectable IL-2 of T cells stimulated by another bacterial antigen, tetanus toxoid. These results suggested that GTFs might modulate the production of Th1-type cytokines and that GTFs of S. mutans play a significant role in stimulating the production of the proinflammatory cytokine IL-6 in vivo.
We have demonstrated previously by Western blotting that in naturally sensitized humans, the serum or salivary antibody response to Streptococcus mutans was directed predominantly to a protein antigen with a size of approximately 60-kDa. To identify this immunodominant antigen, specific serum antibodies were eluted from immunoblots and five positive clones with inserts ranging in length from 3 to 8 kb from identical chromosomal loci were obtained by screening a genomic expression library of Streptococcus mutans GS-5. Amino acid sequencing established the identity of this immunodominant antigen, a 60-kDa immunodominant glycoprotein (IDG-60), to be a cell wall-associated general stress protein GSP-781, which was originally predicted to have a molecular mass of approximately 45 kDa based on the derived nucleotide sequence. Discrepancy in the molecular mass was also observed in recombinant his-tagged IDG-60 (rIDG-60) expressed from Escherichia coli. Glycosylation, consisting of sialic acid, mannose galactose, and N-acetylgalactosamine, was detected by lectin binding to IDG-60 in cell wall extracts from S. mutans and rIDG-60 expressed in vivo or translated in vitro. Despite the presence of multiple Asn or Ser or Thr glycosylation sites, IDG-60 was resistant to the effect of N-glycosidase F and multiple O-glycosidase molecules but not to β-galactosidase. Insertional inactivation of the gene encoding IDG-60, sagA, resulted in a retarded growth rate, destabilization of the cell wall, and pleiomorphic cell shape with multifold ingrowth of cell wall. In addition, distinct from the parental GS-5 strain, the isogenic mutant GS-51 was unable to survive the challenge of low pH and high osmotic pressure or high temperature. Expression of the wild-type gene in trans within GS-51 from plasmid pDL277 complemented the growth defect and restored normal cell shape. These results suggested that IDG-60 is essential for maintaining the integrity of the cell wall and the uniformity of cell shape, both of which are indispensable for bacteria survival under stress conditions.
Streptococcus mutans, which causes dental caries in the human oral cavity and occasionally causes infective endocarditis in the heart, withstands adverse environmental stress through diverse alterations in protein synthesis. Differential gene expression in response to environmental stress was analyzed by RNA fingerprinting using arbitrarily primed PCR with a panel of 11mer primers designed for differential display in Enterobacteriaceae. Dot and Northern blot hybridization confirmed that the transcription of several genes was up- or down-regulated following exposure to acid shock from pH 7.5 to 5.5. RNA of a gene designated AP-185 (acid-stress protein) was induced specifically by acid treatment, while RNA of GSP-781 (general-stress protein) was up-regulated significantly when bacteria were exposed to high osmolarity and temperature, as well as low pH. The deduced amino acid sequence of AP-185 shares homology (78% identity) with branched-chain amino acid aminotransferase. Cloning and sequence analysis of GSP-781 revealed a potential secreted protein of a molecular mass of about 43 kDa and with a pI predicted to be 5.5. Transcriptional levels of another gene, designated AR-186 (acid-repressed protein), which encodes putative aconitase, were repressed by acid treatment but were enhanced by plasma or serum components. Analogous results were identified in icd and citZ genes, and repression of these genes, along with AR-186, was also observed when they were exposed to high osmolarity and temperature. These results indicate that differential regulation of specific genes at the transcriptional level is triggered by different stress and that genes responsible for glutamate biosynthesis in the citrate pathway are coordinately regulated during the stress response of S. mutans.