Transcriptional reactivation of murine cytomegalovirus ie gene expression by 5-aza-2 '-deoxycytidine and trichostatin A in latently infected cells despite lack of methylation of the major immediate-early promoter
We have used a spleen explant model to investigate mechanisms of murine cytomegalovirus latency and reactivation. Induction of immediate-early (ie) gene expression occurs in explants after approximately 9 days in culture and virus reactivation follows induction of ie gene expression with kinetics similar to that of productive infection in vitro. This occurs independently of TNF receptor signalling. Treatment with the DNA methylation inhibitor 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine and the histone deacetylase inhibitor trichostatin A results in more rapid induction of ie gene expression and reactivation of virus. Despite these results, which suggest a role for DNA methylation in maintenance of viral latency, we find that the major immediate-early promoter/enhancer is not methylated in latently infected mice. Our results support the hypothesis that latency is maintained by epigenetic control of ie gene expression, and that induction of ie gene expression leads to reactivation of virus, but suggest that these are not controlled by DNA methylation.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Efficient resolution of acute cytopathogenic cytomegalovirus infection through innate and adaptive host immune mechanisms is followed by lifelong maintenance of the viral genome in host tissues in a state of replicative latency, which is interrupted by episodes of virus reactivation for transmission. The establishment of latency is the result of aeons of co-evolution of cytomegaloviruses and their respective host species. Genetic adaptation of a particular cytomegalovirus to its specific host is reflected by private gene families not found in other members of the cytomegalovirus group, whereas basic functions of the viral replicative cycle are encoded by public gene families shared between different cytomegaloviruses or even with herpesviruses in general. Private genes include genes coding for immunoevasins, a group of glycoproteins specifically dedicated to dampen recognition by the host's innate and adaptive immune surveillance to protect the virus against elimination. Recent data in the mouse model of cytomegalovirus latency have indicated that viral replicative latency established in the immunocompetent host is a dynamic state characterized by episodes of viral gene desilencing and immune sensing of reactivated presentation of antigenic peptides at immunological checkpoints by CD8 T cells. This sensing maintains viral replicative latency by triggering antiviral effector functions that terminate the viral gene expression program before infectious viral progeny are assembled. According to the immune sensing hypothesis of latency control, immunological checkpoints are unique for each infected individual in reflection of host MHC (HLA) polymorphism and the proteome(s) of the viral variant(s) harbored in latency.
Current topics in microbiology and immunology 01/2008; 325:315-31. DOI:10.1007/978-3-540-77349-8_18 · 4.10 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Human cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a ubiquitous herpesvirus with the ability to establish a lifelong latent infection. The mechanism by which this occurs is not well understood. Regulation of, for example, immediate-early (IE) gene expression is thought to be a critical control point in transcriptional control of the switch between latency and reactivation. Here, we present evidence that supports previous studies showing that the majority of genomes are quiescent with respect to gene expression. To study the possible role of epigenetic factors that may be involved in repression of ie gene expression in latency, we have analyzed changes in the patterns of modifications of histones bound to the major IE promoter (MIEP) in the kidneys of acutely and latently infected mice. Our studies show that, like herpes simplex virus, murine CMV genomes become relatively enriched in histones in latent infection. There are dramatic changes in modifications of histones associated with the MIEP when latency is established: H3 and H4 become hypoacetylated and H3 is hypomethylated at lysine 4, while H3 lysine 9 is hypermethylated in latently infected mice. These changes are accompanied by a relative loss of RNA polymerase and gain of heterochromatin protein 1gamma and Yin-Yang 1 bound to the MIEP. Our studies suggest that, in the majority of cells, CMV establishes a true latent infection, defined as the lack of expression of genes associated with productive infection, and that this occurs through changes in histone modifications and recruitment of transcriptional silencing factors to the MIEP.
Journal of Virology 09/2008; 82(21):10922-31. DOI:10.1128/JVI.00865-08 · 4.44 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The triggering mechanisms underlying reactivation of human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) in latently infected persons are unclear. During latency, HCMV major immediate-early (MIE) gene expression breaks silence to initiate viral reactivation. Using quiescently HCMV-infected human pluripotent embryonal NTera2 cells (NT2) to model HCMV reactivation, we show that vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP), an immunomodulatory neuropeptide, immediately and dose-dependently (1 to 500 nM) activates HCMV MIE gene expression. This response requires the MIE enhancer cyclic AMP response elements (CRE). VIP quickly elevates CREB Ser133 and ATF-1 Ser63 phosphorylation levels, although the CREB Ser133 phosphorylation level is substantial at baseline. VIP does not change the level of HCMV genomes in nuclei, Oct4 (pluripotent cell marker), or hDaxx (cellular repressor of HCMV gene expression). VIP-activated MIE gene expression is mediated by cellular protein kinase A (PKA), CREB, and TORC2. VIP induces PKA-dependent TORC2 Ser171 dephosphorylation and nuclear entry, which likely enables MIE gene activation, as TORC2 S171A (devoid of Ser171 phosphorylation) exhibits enhanced nuclear entry and desilences the MIE genes in the absence of VIP stimulation. In conclusion, VIP stimulation of the PKA-CREB-TORC2 signaling cascade activates HCMV CRE-dependent MIE gene expression in quiescently infected NT2 cells. We speculate that neurohormonal stimulation via this signaling cascade is a possible means for reversing HCMV silence in vivo.
Journal of Virology 05/2009; 83(13):6391-403. DOI:10.1128/JVI.00061-09 · 4.44 Impact Factor
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