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J Virol. 2011 Jul;85(13):6148-61. doi: 10.1128/JVI.02608-10. Epub 2011 Apr 20.

The single RBP-Jkappa site within the LANA promoter is crucial for establishing Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus latency during primary infection.

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


Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV; or human herpesvirus 8 [HHV8]) is implicated in the pathogenesis of many human malignancies including Kaposi's sarcoma (KS), multicentric Castleman's disease (MCD), and primary effusion lymphoma (PEL). KSHV infection displays two alternative life cycles, referred to as the latent and lytic or productive cycle. Previously, we have reported that the replication and transcription activator (RTA), a major lytic cycle transactivator, contributes to the development of KSHV latency by inducing latency-associated nuclear antigen (LANA) expression during early stages of infection by targeting RBP-Jκ, the master regulator of the Notch signaling pathway. Here, we generated a bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) KSHV recombinant virus with a deletion of the RBP-Jκ site within the LANA promoter to evaluate the function of the RBP-Jκ cognate site in establishing primary latent infection. The results showed that genetic disruption of the RBP-Jκ binding site within the KSHV LANA promoter led to enhanced expression of the KSHV-encoded immediate early RTA, resulting in an increase in lytic replication during primary infection of human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs). This system provides a powerful tool for use in indentifying additional cellular and viral molecules involved in LANA-mediated latency maintenance during the early stages of KSHV infection.

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