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PLoS Pathog. 2014 Jan;10(1):e1003880. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1003880. Epub 2014 Jan 9.

CTCF and Rad21 act as host cell restriction factors for Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) lytic replication by modulating viral gene transcription.

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  • 1Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City, Utah, United States of America.
  • 2Huntsman Cancer Institute, University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City, Utah, United States of America.
  • 3Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City, Utah, United States of America ; George E. Wahlen Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Salt Lake City, Utah, United States of America.

Abstract

Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) is a human herpesvirus that causes Kaposi's sarcoma and is associated with the development of lymphoproliferative diseases. KSHV reactivation from latency and virion production is dependent on efficient transcription of over eighty lytic cycle genes and viral DNA replication. CTCF and cohesin, cellular proteins that cooperatively regulate gene expression and mediate long-range DNA interactions, have been shown to bind at specific sites in herpesvirus genomes. CTCF and cohesin regulate KSHV gene expression during latency and may also control lytic reactivation, although their role in lytic gene expression remains incompletely characterized. Here, we analyze the dynamic changes in CTCF and cohesin binding that occur during the process of KSHV viral reactivation and virion production by high resolution chromatin immunoprecipitation and deep sequencing (ChIP-Seq) and show that both proteins dissociate from viral genomes in kinetically and spatially distinct patterns. By utilizing siRNAs to specifically deplete CTCF and Rad21, a cohesin component, we demonstrate that both proteins are potent restriction factors for KSHV replication, with cohesin knockdown leading to hundred-fold increases in viral yield. High-throughput RNA sequencing was used to characterize the transcriptional effects of CTCF and cohesin depletion, and demonstrated that both proteins have complex and global effects on KSHV lytic transcription. Specifically, both proteins act as positive factors for viral transcription initially but subsequently inhibit KSHV lytic transcription, such that their net effect is to limit KSHV RNA accumulation. Cohesin is a more potent inhibitor of KSHV transcription than CTCF but both proteins are also required for efficient transcription of a subset of KSHV genes. These data reveal novel effects of CTCF and cohesin on transcription from a relatively small genome that resemble their effects on the cellular genome by acting as gene-specific activators of some promoters, but differ in acting as global negative regulators of transcription.

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