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J Virol. 2012 May;86(9):5165-78. doi: 10.1128/JVI.07161-11. Epub 2012 Feb 22.

Downregulation of integrin receptor-signaling genes by Epstein-Barr virus EBNA 3C via promoter-proximal and -distal binding elements.

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School of Life Sciences, University of Sussex, Brighton, United Kingdom.


Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) establishes a persistent latent infection in B lymphocytes and is associated with the development of numerous human tumors. Epstein-Barr nuclear antigen 3C (EBNA 3C) is essential for B-cell immortalization, has potent cell cycle deregulation capabilities, and functions as a regulator of both viral- and cellular-gene expression. We performed transcription profiling on EBNA 3C-expressing B cells and identified several chemokines and members of integrin receptor-signaling pathways, including CCL3, CCL4, CXCL10, CXCL11, ITGA4, ITGB1, ADAM28, and ADAMDEC1, as cellular target genes that could be repressed by the action of EBNA 3C alone. Chemotaxis assays demonstrated that downregulation of CXCL10 and -11 by EBNA 3C is sufficient to reduce the migration of cells expressing the CXCL10 and -11 receptor CXCR3. Gene repression by EBNA 3C was accompanied by decreased histone H3 lysine 9/14 acetylation and increased histone H3 lysine 27 trimethylation. In an EBV-positive cell line expressing all latent genes, we identified binding sites for EBNA 3C at ITGB1 and ITGA4 and in a distal regulatory region between ADAMDEC1 and ADAM28, providing the first demonstration of EBNA 3C association with cellular-gene control regions. Our data implicate indirect mechanisms in CXCL10 and CXCL11 repression by EBNA 3C. In summary, we have unveiled key cellular pathways repressed by EBNA 3C that are likely to contribute to the ability of EBV-immortalized cells to modulate immune responses, adhesion, and B-lymphocyte migration to facilitate persistence in the host.

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