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J Virol. 2011 Nov;85(22):11928-37. doi: 10.1128/JVI.00758-11. Epub 2011 Aug 31.

Human cytomegalovirus infection causes degradation of Sp100 proteins that suppress viral gene expression.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Cell Biology, Samsung Biomedical Research Institute, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, 300 Cheoncheondong Jangangu, Suwon, Gyeonggido 440-746, Republic of Korea.


The interferon-inducible Sp100 proteins are thought to play roles in the chromatin pathway and in transcriptional regulation. Sp100A, the smallest isoform, is one of the major components of PML nuclear bodies (NBs) that exhibit intrinsic antiviral activity against several viruses. Since PML NBs are disrupted by the immediate-early 1 (IE1) protein during human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) infection, the modulation of Sp100 protein expression or activity during infection has been suggested. Here, we show that Sp100 proteins are lost largely in the late stages of HCMV infection. This event required viral gene expression and involved posttranscriptional control. The mutant virus with deletion of the sequence for IE1 (CR208) did not have Sp100 loss. In CR208 infection, PML depletion by RNA interference abrogated the accumulation of SUMO-modified Sp100A and of certain high-molecular-weight Sp100 isoforms but did not significantly affect unmodified Sp100A, suggesting that the IE1-induced disruption of PML NBs is not sufficient for the complete loss of Sp100 proteins. Sp100A loss was found to require proteasome activity. Depletion of all Sp100 proteins by RNA silencing enhanced HCMV replication and major IE (MIE) gene expression. Sp100 knockdown enhanced the acetylation level of histones associated with the MIE promoter, demonstrating that the repressive effect of Sp100 proteins may involve, at least in part, the epigenetic control of the MIE promoter. Sp100A was found to interact directly with IE1 through the N-terminal dimerization domain. These findings indicate that the IE1-dependent loss of Sp100 proteins during HCMV infection may represent an important requirement for efficient viral growth.

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