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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2010 Mar-Apr;1799(3-4):236-45. doi: 10.1016/j.bbagrm.2009.10.004. Epub 2009 Oct 22.

Chromatin organization of gammaherpesvirus latent genomes.

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The Wistar Institute, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.


The gammaherpesviruses are a subclass of the herpesvirus family that establish stable latent infections in proliferating lymphoid and epithelial cells. The latent genomes are maintained as multicopy chromatinized episomes that replicate in synchrony with the cellular genome. Importantly, most of the episomes do not integrate into the host chromosome. Therefore, it is essential that the viral "minichromosome" establish a chromatin structure that is suitable for gene expression, DNA replication, and chromosome segregation. Evidence suggests that chromatin organization is important for each of these functions and plays a regulatory role in the establishment and maintenance of latent infection. Here, we review recent studies on the chromatin organization of the human gammaherpesviruses, Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) and Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV). We discuss the potential role of viral origins of DNA replication and viral encoded origin-binding proteins like EBNA1 and LANA in establishment of viral chromosome organization during latent infection. We also discuss the roles of host cell factors, like CTCF and cohesins, that contribute to higher-order chromosome structures that may be important for stable gene expression programs during latent infection in proliferating cells.

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