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J Gen Virol. 2005 Mar;86(Pt 3):535-44.

Ets-2 repressor factor recruits histone deacetylase to silence human cytomegalovirus immediate-early gene expression in non-permissive cells.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, University of Cambridge, PO Box 157, Addenbrooke's Hospital, Hills Road, Cambridge CB2 2QQ, UK.


Previous work from this laboratory has shown that expression of human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) immediate-early (IE) genes from the major immediate-early promoter (MIEP) is likely to be regulated by chromatin remodelling around the promoter affecting the acetylation state of core histone tails. The HCMV MIEP contains sequences that bind cellular transcription factors responsible for its negative regulation in undifferentiated, non-permissive cells. Ets-2 repressor factor (ERF) is one such factor that binds to such sequences and represses IE gene expression. Although it is not known how cellular transcription factors such as ERF mediate transcriptional repression of the MIEP, it is likely to involve differentiation-specific co-factors. In this study, the mechanism by which ERF represses HCMV IE gene expression was analysed. ERF physically interacts with the histone deacetylase, HDAC1, both in vitro and in vivo and this physical interaction between ERF and HDAC1 mediates repression of the MIEP. This suggests that silencing of viral IE gene expression, associated with histone deacetylation events around the MIEP, is mediated by differentiation-dependent cellular factors such as ERF, which specifically recruit chromatin remodellers to the MIEP in non-permissive cells.

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