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J Virol. 2007 Jul;81(13):7178-88. Epub 2007 May 2.

A novel Bcl-2-like inhibitor of apoptosis is encoded by the parapoxvirus ORF virus.

Author information

1
Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Otago, P.O. Box 56, Dunedin, New Zealand.

Abstract

Apoptotic cell death forms part of the host defense against virus infection. We tested orf virus, a member of the poxvirus family, for the ability to inhibit apoptosis and found that orf virus-infected cells were fully resistant to UV-induced changes in cell morphology, caspase activation, and DNA fragmentation. By using a library of vaccinia virus-orf virus recombinants, we identified an orf virus gene (ORFV125) whose presence was linked with the inhibition of apoptosis. The 173-amino-acid predicted protein had no clear homologs in public databases other than those encoded by other parapoxviruses. However, ORFV125 possessed a distinctive C-terminal domain which was necessary and sufficient to direct the protein to the mitochondria. We determined that ORFV125 alone could fully inhibit UV-induced DNA fragmentation, caspase activation, and cytochrome c release and that its mitochondrial localization was required for its antiapoptotic function. In contrast, ORFV125 did not prevent UV-induced activation of c-Jun NH2-terminal kinase, an event occurring upstream of the mitochondria. These features are comparable to the antiapoptotic properties of the mitochondrial regulator Bcl-2. Furthermore, bioinformatic analyses revealed sequence and secondary-structure similarities to Bcl-2 family members, including characteristic residues of all four Bcl-2 homology domains. Consistent with this, the viral protein inhibited the UV-induced activation of the proapoptotic Bcl-2 family members Bax and Bak. ORFV125 is the first parapoxvirus apoptosis inhibitor to be identified, and we propose that it is a new antiapoptotic member of the Bcl-2 family.

PMID:
17475653
PMCID:
PMC1933275
DOI:
10.1128/JVI.00404-07
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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