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J Virol. 2014 Jan;88(1):547-58. doi: 10.1128/JVI.02877-13. Epub 2013 Oct 30.

The cellular peptidyl-prolyl cis/trans isomerase Pin1 regulates reactivation of Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus from latency.

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Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, New Jersey Medical School and Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences, Rutgers University, Newark, New Jersey, USA.


Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) causes Kaposi's sarcoma and primary effusion lymphoma. KSHV-infected cells are predominantly latent, with a subset undergoing lytic reactivation. Rta is the essential lytic switch protein that reactivates virus by forming transactivation-competent complexes with the Notch effector protein RBP-Jk and promoter DNA. Strikingly, Rta homolog analysis reveals that prolines constitute 17% of conserved residues. Rta is also highly phosphorylated in vivo. We previously demonstrated that proline content determines Rta homotetramerization and function. We hypothesize that proline-directed modifications regulate Rta function by controlling binding to peptidyl-prolyl cis/trans isomerases (PPIases). Cellular PPIase Pin1 binds specifically to phosphoserine- or phosphothreonine-proline (pS/T-P) motifs in target proteins. Pin1 dysregulation is implicated in myriad human cancers and can be subverted by viruses. Our data show that KSHV Rta protein contains potential pS/T-P motifs and binds directly to Pin1. Rta transactivation is enhanced by Pin1 at two delayed early viral promoters in uninfected cells. Pin1's effect, however, suggests a rheostat-like influence on Rta function. We show that in infected cells, endogenous Pin1 is active during reactivation and enhances Rta-dependent early protein expression induced by multiple signals, as well as DNA replication. Surprisingly, ablation of Pin1 activity by the chemical juglone or dominant-negative Pin1 enhanced late gene expression and production of infectious virus, while ectopic Pin1 showed inhibitory effects. Our data thus suggest that Pin1 is a unique, dose-dependent molecular timer that enhances Rta protein function, but inhibits late gene synthesis and virion production, during KSHV lytic reactivation.

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