Leming Tong

University of California, Los Angeles, Los Ángeles, California, United States

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Publications (12)45.86 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Unlabelled: Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) is associated with several human malignances. As saliva is likely the major vehicle for KSHV transmission, we studied in vitro KSHV infection of oral epithelial cells. Through infection of two types of oral epithelial cells, normal human oral keratinocytes (NHOKs) and papilloma-immortalized human oral keratinocyte (HOK16B) cells, we found that KSHV can undergo robust lytic replication in oral epithelial cells. By employing de novo lytic infection of HOK16B cells, we studied the functions of two previously uncharacterized genes, ORF18 and ORF30, during the KSHV lytic cycle. For this purpose, an ORF18-deficient virus and an ORF30-deficient virus were generated using a mutagenesis strategy based on bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) technology. We found that neither ORF18 nor ORF30 is required for immediately early or early gene expression or viral DNA replication, but each is essential for late gene expression during both de novo lytic replication and reactivation. This critical role of ORF18 and ORF30 in late gene expression was also observed during KSHV reactivation. In addition, global analysis of viral transcripts by RNA sequencing indicated that ORF18 and ORF30 control the same set of viral genes. Therefore, we suggest that these two viral ORFs are involved in the same mechanism or pathway that coregulates the viral late genes as a group. Importance: While KSHV can infect multiple cell types in vitro, only a few can support a full lytic replication cycle with progeny virions produced. Consequently, KSHV lytic replication is mostly studied through reactivation, which requires chemicals to induce the lytic cycle or overexpression of the viral transcriptional activator, RTA. In this study, we present a robust de novo lytic infection system based on oral epithelial cells. Using this system, we demonstrate the role of two viral ORFs, ORF18 and ORF30, in regulating viral gene expression during KSHV lytic replication. As the major route of KSHV transmission is thought to be via saliva, this new KSHV lytic replication system will have important utility in the field.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2014 · Journal of Virology
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    Full-text · Article · Apr 2012 · Infectious Agents and Cancer
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    ABSTRACT: Gammaherpesviruses such as KSHV and EBV establish lifelong persistent infections through latency in lymphocytes. These viruses have evolved several strategies to counteract the various components of the innate and adaptive immune systems. We conducted an unbiased screen using the genetically and biologically related virus, MHV-68, to find viral ORFs involved in the inhibition of type I interferon signaling and identified a conserved viral dUTPase, ORF54. Here we define the contribution of ORF54 in type I interferon inhibition by ectopic expression and through the use of genetically modified MHV-68. ORF54 and an ORF54 lacking dUTPase enzymatic activity efficiently inhibit type I interferon signaling by inducing the degradation of the type I interferon receptor protein IFNAR1. Subsequently, we show in vitro that the lack of ORF54 causes a reduction in lytic replication in the presence of type I interferon signaling. Investigation of the physiological consequence of IFNAR1 degradation and importance of ORF54 during MHV-68 in vivo infection demonstrates that ORF54 has an even greater impact on persistent infection than on lytic replication. MHV-68 lacking ORF54 expression is unable to efficiently establish latent infection in lymphocytes, although it replicates relatively normally in lung tissues. However, infection of IFNAR-/- mice alleviates this phenotype, emphasizing the specific role of ORF54 in type I interferon inhibition. Infection of mice and cells by a recombinant MHV-68 virus harboring a site specific mutation in ORF54 rendering the dUTPase inactive demonstrates that dUTPase enzymatic activity is not required for anti-interferon function of ORF54. Moreover, we find that dUTPase activity is dispensable at all stages of MHV-68 infection analyzed. Overall, our data suggest that ORF54 has evolved anti-interferon activity in addition to its dUTPase enzymatic activity, and that it is actually the anti-interferon role that renders ORF54 critical for establishing an effective persistent infection of MHV-68.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2011 · PLoS Pathogens
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    ABSTRACT: Here we describe the cloning of a sequenced WUMS isolate of murine gammaherpesvirus-68 (MHV-68, γHV-68, also known as MuHV-4) as a bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC). We engineered the insertion of the BAC sequence flanked by loxP sites into the left end of the viral genome before the M1 open reading frame. The infectious viruses were reconstituted following transfection of the MHV-68 BAC DNA into cells. The MHV-68 BAC-derived virus replicated indistinguishably from the wild-type virus in cultured cells. Excision of the BAC insert was efficiently achieved by coexpressing the Cre recombinase. Although the BAC insertion did not significantly affect acute productive infection in the lung, it severely compromised the ability of MHV-68 to establish splenic latency. Removal of the BAC sequence restored the wild-type level of latency. Site-specific mutagenesis was carried out by RecA-mediated recombination to demonstrate that this infectious BAC clone can be used for genetic studies of MHV-68.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2011 · BioMed Research International
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    ABSTRACT: Human gammaherpesviruses, Epstein-Barr virus, and human herpesvirus 8/Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus are important pathogens associated with diseases, including lymphomas and other malignancies. Murine gammaherpesvirus 68 (MHV-68) is used as an experimental model system to study the host immune control of infection and explore novel vaccine strategies based on latency-deficient live viruses. We studied the properties and the potential of a recombinant MHV-68 (AC-RTA) in which the genes required for persistent infection were replaced by a constitutively expressed viral transcription activator, RTA, which dictates the virus to lytic replication. After intranasal infection of mice, replication of AC-RTA in the lung was attenuated, and no AC-RTA virus or viral DNA was detected in the isolated splenocytes, indicating a lack of latency in the spleen. Infection of the AC-RTA virus elicited both cellular immune responses and virus-specific IgG at a level comparable to that elicited by infection of the wild-type virus. Importantly, vaccination of AC-RTA was able to protect mice against subsequent challenge by the wild-type MHV-68. AC-RTA provides a vaccine strategy for preventing infection of human gammaherpesviruses. Furthermore, our results suggest that immunity to the major latent antigens is not required for protection.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2009 · Journal of Virology
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    ABSTRACT: A hallmark of productive infection by DNA viruses is the coupling of viral late gene expression to genome replication. Here we report the identification of open reading frame 30 (ORF30) and ORF34 as viral trans factors crucial for activating late gene transcription following viral DNA replication during lytic infection of murine gammaherpesvirus 68 (MHV-68). The mutant virus lacking either ORF30 or ORF34 underwent normal DNA replication but failed to express viral late gene transcripts, leading to nonproductive infection. In a reporter assay system, ORF30 and ORF34 were required for MHV-68 to activate the viral late gene promoters. Furthermore, studies using chromatin immunoprecipitation assays showed that the recruitment of RNA polymerase II to the viral late promoters during lytic infection was significantly reduced in the absence of ORF30 or ORF34. Together, the results suggest that ORF30 and ORF34 may play an important role in the assembly of the transcription initiation complex at the late gene promoters. Our discovery of the viral mutants that uncouple late gene transcription from DNA replication lays an important foundation to dissect the mechanism of this critical step of gene expression regulation.
    Preview · Article · Mar 2009 · Journal of Virology
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    ABSTRACT: Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus and murine gammaherpesvirus-68 (MHV-68) establish latent infections and are associated with various types of malignancies. They are members of the gamma-2 herpesvirus subfamily and encode a replication and transcriptional activator, RTA, which is necessary and sufficient to disrupt latency and initiate the viral lytic cycle in vitro. We have constructed a recombinant MHV-68 virus that overexpresses RTA. This virus has faster replication kinetics in vitro and in vivo, is deficient in establishing latency, exhibits a reduction in the development of a mononucleosis-like disease in mice, and can protect mice against challenge by wild-type MHV-68. The present study, by using MHV-68 as an in vivo model system, demonstrated that RTA plays a critical role in the control of viral latency and suggests that latency is a determinant of viral pathogenesis in vivo.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2004 · Journal of Virology
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    ABSTRACT: Murine gammaherpesvirus 68 (MHV-68 [also referred to as gammaHV68]) is phylogenetically related to Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV [also referred to as HHV-8]) and Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). However, unlike KSHV or EBV, MHV-68 readily infects fibroblast and epithelial cell lines derived from several mammalian species, providing a system to study productive and latent infections as well as reactivation of gammaherpesviruses in vivo and in vitro. To carry out rapid genome-wide analysis of MHV-68 gene expression, we made DNA arrays containing nearly all of the known and predicted open reading frames (ORFs) of the virus. RNA obtained from an MHV-68 latently infected cell line, from cells lytically infected with MHV-68 in culture, and from the lung tissue of infected mice was used to probe the MHV-68 arrays. Using a tightly latent B-cell line (S11E), the MHV-68 latent transcription program was quantitatively described. Using BHK-21 cells and infected mice, we demonstrated that latent genes are transcribed during lytic replication and are relatively independent of de novo protein synthesis. We determined that the transcription profiles at the peak of lytic gene expression are similar in cultured fibroblast and in the lung of infected mice. Finally, the MHV-68 DNA arrays were used to examine the gene expression profile of a recombinant virus that overexpresses replication and transcription activator (RTA), C-RTA/MHV-68, during lytic replication in cell culture. The recombinant virus replicates faster then the parental strain and the DNA arrays revealed that nearly every MHV-68 ORF examined was activated by RTA overexpression. Examination of the gene expression patterns of C-RTA/MHV-68 over a time course led to the finding that the M3 promoter is RTA responsive in the absence of other viral factors.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2003 · Journal of Virology
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    T T Wu · Leming Tong · Tammy Rickabaugh · Samuel Speck · Ren Sun
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    ABSTRACT: Rta, encoded primarily by open reading frame 50, is well conserved among gammaherpesviruses. It has been shown that the Rta proteins of Epstein Barr virus (EBV), Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV, or HHV-8), and murine gammaherpesvirus 68 (MHV-68; also referred to as gamma HV68) play an important role in viral reactivation from latency. However, the role of Rta during productive de novo infection has not been characterized in gammaherpesviruses. Since there are cell lines that can support efficient productive de novo infection by MHV-68 but not EBV or KSHV, we examined whether MHV-68 Rta plays a role in initiating viral lytic replication in productively infected cells. Rta, functioning as a transcriptional activator, can activate the viral promoter of early lytic genes. The amino acid sequence alignments of the Rta homologues suggest that the organizations of their functional domains are similar, with the DNA binding and dimerization domains at the N terminus and the trans-activation domain at the C terminus. We constructed two mutants of MHV-68 Rta, Rd1 and Rd2, with deletions of 112 and 243 amino acids from the C terminus, respectively. Rd1 and Rd2 could no longer trans-activate the promoter of MHV-68 gene 57, consistent with the deletions of their trans-activation domains at the C terminus. Furthermore, Rd1 and Rd2 were able to function as dominant-negative mutants, inhibiting trans-activation of wild-type Rta. To study whether Rd1 and Rd2 blocked viral lytic replication, purified virion DNA was cotransfected with Rd1 or Rd2 into fibroblasts. Expression of viral lytic proteins was greatly suppressed, and the yield of infectious viruses was reduced up to 10(4)-fold. Stable cell lines constitutively expressing Rd2 were established and infected with MHV-68. Transcription of the immediate-early gene, rta, and the early gene, tk, of the virus was reduced in these cell lines. The presence of Rd2 also led to attenuation of viral lytic protein expression and virion production. The ability of Rta dominant-negative mutants to inhibit productive infection suggests that the trans-activation function of Rta is essential for MHV-68 lytic replication. We propose that a single viral protein, Rta, governs the initiation of MHV-68 lytic replication during both reactivation and productive de novo infection.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2001 · Journal of Virology
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    ABSTRACT: Myxococcus xanthus is a gram-negative soil bacterium that initiates a complex developmental program in response to starvation. A transposon insertion (Tn5-lac omega109) mutant with developmental deficiencies was isolated and characterized in this study. A strain containing this insertion mutation in an otherwise wild-type background showed delayed developmental aggregation for about 12 h and sporulated at 1-2% of the wild-type level. Tn5-lac omega109 was found to have disrupted the M. xanthus wbgB gene, which is located 2.1 kb downstream of the M. xanthus lipopolysacharide (LPS) O-antigen biosynthesis genes wzm wzt wbgA. The deduced polypeptide sequence of WbgB shares significant similarity with bacterial glycosyltransferases including M. xanthus WbgA. The wbgB::Tn5-lac omega109 mutant was found to be defective in LPS O-antigen synthesis by immunochemical analysis. Further mutational analysis indicated that the defects of the wbgB::Tn5-lac omega109 mutant were not the result of polar effects on downstream genes. Various motility assays demonstrated that the Tn5-lac omega109 mutation affected both social (S) and adventurous (A) gliding motility of M. xanthus cells. The pleiotrophic effects of wbgB mutations indicate the importance of LPS O-antigen biosynthesis for various cellular functions in M. xanthus.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2001 · Archives of Microbiology
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    ABSTRACT: Myxococcus xanthus social (S) gliding motility has been previously reported by us to require the chemotaxis homologues encoded by the dif genes. In addition, two cell surface structures, type IV pili and extracellular matrix fibrils, are also critical to M. xanthus S motility. We have demonstrated here that M. xanthus dif genes are required for the biogenesis of fibrils but not for that of type IV pili. Furthermore, the developmental defects of dif mutants can be partially rescued by the addition of isolated fibril materials. Along with the chemotaxis genes of various swarming bacteria and the pilGHIJ genes of the twitching bacteriumPseudomonas aeruginosa, the M. xanthus dif genes belong to a unique class of bacterial chemotaxis genes or homologues implicated in the biogenesis of structures required for bacterial surface locomotion. Genetic studies indicate that the dif genes are linked to theM. xanthus dsp region, a locus known to be crucial forM. xanthus fibril biogenesis and S gliding.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2000 · Journal of Bacteriology
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    Wenyuan Shi · Zhaomin Yang · Hong Sun · Hope Lancero · Leming Tong
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    ABSTRACT: Myxococcus xanthus is a Gram-negative gliding bacterium that aggregates and develops into multicellular fruiting bodies in response to starvation. Two chemosensory systems (frz and dif), both of which are homologous to known chemotaxis proteins, were previously identified through characterization of various developmental mutants. This study aims to examine the interaction between these two systems since both of them are required for fruiting body formation of M. xanthus. Through detailed phenotypic analyses of frz and dif double mutants, we found that both frz and dif are involved in cellular reversal and social motility; however, the frz genes are epistatic in controlling cellular reversal, whereas the dif genes are epistatic in controlling social motility. The study suggests that the integration of these two chemotaxis systems may play a central role in controlling the complicated social behaviors of M. xanthus.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2000 · FEMS Microbiology Letters

Publication Stats

361 Citations
45.86 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2000-2014
    • University of California, Los Angeles
      • • Department of Molecular and Medical Pharmacology
      • • Department of Medicine
      • • School of Dentistry
      • • Molecular Biology Institute
      Los Ángeles, California, United States
    • University of Texas Medical School
      • Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics
      Houston, Texas, United States
  • 2001
    • Washington University in St. Louis
      San Luis, Missouri, United States