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J Virol. 2006 Apr;80(8):3884-92.

White spot syndrome virus open reading frame 222 encodes a viral E3 ligase and mediates degradation of a host tumor suppressor via ubiquitination.

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  • 1Animal Health Biotechnology, Temasek Life Sciences Laboratory, 1 Research Link, National University of Singapore, Singapore 117604, Republic of Singapore.


We have characterized a white spot syndrome virus (WSSV) RING-H2-type protein, WSSV222, which is involved in ubiquitination. WSSV222 exhibits RING-H2-dependent E3 ligase activity in vitro in the presence of the specific conjugating enzyme UbcH6. Mutations in the RING-H2 domain abolished WSSV222-dependent ubiquitination, revealing the importance of this domain in WSSV222 function. Yeast two-hybrid and pull-down analyses revealed that WSSV222 interacts with a shrimp tumor suppressor-like protein (TSL) sharing 60% identity with human OVCA1. To better characterize the interaction of WSSV222 and TSL in vivo, we established a stable TSL-expressing cell line derived from the human ovarian cancer cell line A2780, where we observed a TSL-dependent prolonged G1 phase. Furthermore, we detected WSSV222-mediated ubiquitination and MG132-sensitive degradation of TSL both in shrimp primary cell culture and in the TSL-expressing cell line. Transient expression of TSL in BHK cells leads to apoptosis, which was rescued by WSSV222. Taken together, our data suggest that WSSV222 acts as an antiapoptosis protein by ubiquitin-mediated proteolysis of TSL to ensure successful WSSV replication in shrimp.

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