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Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus ORF66 is essential for late gene expression and virus production via interaction with ORF34

Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus ORF66 is essential for late gene expression and virus production via interaction with ORF34

Journal of Virology 2019:

Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) is closely associated with B-cell and endothelial cell malignancies. After the initial infection, KSHV retains its viral genome in the nucleus of the host cell and establishes a lifelong latency. During lytic infection, KSHV encoded lytic-related proteins are expressed in a sequential manner and are classified as immediate early, early, and late gene transcripts. The transcriptional initiation of KSHV late genes is thought to require the complex formation of the virus specific pre-initiation complex (vPIC), which may consist of at least 6 transcription factors (ORF18, 24, 30, 31, 34, and 66). However, the functional role of ORF66 in vPIC during KSHV replication remains largely unclear. Here, we generated ORF66-deficient KSHV using a BAC system to evaluate its role during viral replication. While ORF66-deficient KSHV demonstrated mainly attenuated late gene expression and decreased viral production, viral DNA replication was unaffected. CHIP analysis showed that ORF66 bound to the promoters of late gene (K8.1), but did not to those of latent gene (ORF72), immediate early gene (ORF16) and early gene (ORF46/47). Furthermore, we found that three highly conserved C-X-X-C sequences and a conserved leucine-repeat in the C-terminal region of ORF66 were essential for interaction with ORF34, transcription of K8.1 and viral production. The interaction between ORF66 and ORF34 occurred in a zinc-dependent manner. Our data support a model, in which ORF66 serves as a critical vPIC component to promote late viral gene expression and viral production.IMPORTANCE KSHV ORF66 is expressed during the early stages of lytic infection, and ORF66 and vPIC are thought to contribute significantly to late gene expression. However, the physiological importance of ORF66 in terms of vPIC formation remains poorly understood. Therfore, we generated a ORF66-deficient BAC clone and evaluated its viral replication. Results showed that ORF66 played a critical role in virus production and the transcription of L genes. To our knowledge, this is the first report showing ORF66 function in virus replication using ORF66-deficient KSHV. We also clarified that ORF66 interacted with the transcription start site of K8.1 gene, a late gene. Furthermore, we identified the ORF34-binding motifs in the ORF66 C- terminus: three C-X-X-C sequences and a leucine-repeat sequence, which are highly conserved among β- and γ-herpesviruses. Our study provides insights into the regulatory mechanisms of not only the late gene expression of KSHV but also those of other herpesviruses.

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Accession: 069489880

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PMID: 31694948

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