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Glycobiology. 2009 Jul;19(7):776-88. doi: 10.1093/glycob/cwp050. Epub 2009 Apr 6.

Activation of host antiviral RNA-sensing factors necessary for herpes simplex virus type 1-activated transcription of host cell fucosyltransferase genes FUT3, FUT5, and FUT6 and subsequent expression of sLe(x) in virus-infected cells.

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Department of Virology, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden.


Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) induces expression of a selectin receptor, the carbohydrate epitope sialyl Lewis X (sLe(x)), at the surface of infected cells. The molecular background to this phenomenon is that a viral immediate early RNA interacts with as yet unidentified host factors, eventually resulting in transcription of three dormant host fucosyltransferase genes (FUT3, FUT5, and FUT6), whose gene products are rate-limiting for synthesis of sLe(x). The aim of the present study was to define the immediate targets for the viral RNA in this process. We found that the Protein Kinase R (PKR) inhibitors 2-aminopurine (2-AP) and C16 inhibited FUT3, FUT5, and FUT6 expression as well as HSV-1-induced expression of sLe(x), indicating a primary role of PKR as a viral RNA target. The PKR-dependent activation of the FUT genes seemed neither to involve PKR effects on translation nor to involve NF-kappaB- or JNK-dependent activation. IMD-0354, known as an inhibitor of the NF-kappaB-activating factor IKK-2, induced FUT transcription via a novel IKK-2-independent mechanism, irrespective of whether the cells were virus-infected or not. Altogether, the results suggested that PKR is the primary target for HSV-1 early RNA during induction of FUT3, FUT5, and FUT6, and that the subsequent steps in the transcriptional activation of these host genes involve a hitherto unknown IMD-0354, yet IKK-2-independent, pathway.

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