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Cell Host Microbe. 2007 Aug 16;2(2):106-18.

An autonomous replicating element within the KSHV genome.

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Department of Microbiology and Tumor Virology Program of the Abramson Comprehensive Cancer Center, School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, 201E Johnson Pavilion, 3610 Hamilton Walk, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.


Members of the herpesviridae family including Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) persist latently in their hosts and harbor their genomes as closed circular episomes. Propagation of the KSHV genome into new daughter cells requires replication of the episome once every cell division and is considered critically dependent on expression of the virus encoded latency-associated nuclear antigen (LANA). This study demonstrates a LANA-independent mechanism of KSHV latent DNA replication. A cis-acting DNA element within a discreet KSHV genomic region termed the long unique region (LUR) can initiate and support replication of plasmids lacking LANA-binding sequences or a eukaryotic replication origin. The human cellular replication machinery proteins ORC2 and MCM3 associated with the LUR element and depletion of cellular ORC2 abolished replication of the plasmids indicating that recruitment of the host cellular replication machinery is important for LUR-dependent replication. Thus, KSHV can initiate replication of its genome independent of any trans-acting viral factors.

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