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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2010 Mar-Apr;1799(3-4):257-65. doi: 10.1016/j.bbagrm.2009.08.003. Epub 2009 Aug 12.

Control of alpha-herpesvirus IE gene expression by HCF-1 coupled chromatin modification activities.

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Laboratory of Viral Diseases, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, 4-129, 4 Center Drive, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA.


The immediate early genes of the alpha-herpesviruses HSV and VZV are transcriptionally regulated by viral and cellular factors in a complex combinatorial manner. Despite this complexity and the apparent redundancy of activators, the expression of the viral IE genes is critically dependent upon the cellular transcriptional coactivator HCF-1. Although the role of HCF-1 had remained elusive, recent studies have demonstrated that the protein is a component of multiple chromatin modification complexes including the Set1/MLL1 histone H3K4 methyltransferases. Studies using model viral promoter-reporter systems as well as analyses of components recruited to the viral genome during the initiation of infection have elucidated the significance of HCF-1 chromatin modification complexes in contributing to the final state of modified histones assembled on the viral IE promoters. Strikingly, the absence of HCF-1 results in the accumulation of nucleosomes bearing repressive marks on the viral IE promoters and silencing of viral gene expression.

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