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J Virol. 2014 Jun;88(11):6345-54. doi: 10.1128/JVI.00028-14. Epub 2014 Mar 26.

NEMO is essential for Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus-encoded vFLIP K13-induced gene expression and protection against death receptor-induced cell death, and its N-terminal 251 residues are sufficient for this process.

Author information

1
Anne Nohl Division of Hematology and Center for the Study of Blood Diseases, University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine, Los Angeles, California, USA.

Abstract

Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus-encoded viral FLICE inhibitory protein (vFLIP) K13 was originally believed to protect virally infected cells against death receptor-induced apoptosis by interfering with caspase 8/FLICE activation. Subsequent studies revealed that K13 also activates the NF-κB pathway by binding to the NEMO/inhibitor of NF-κB (IκB) kinase gamma (IKKγ) subunit of an IKK complex and uses this pathway to modulate the expression of genes involved in cellular survival, proliferation, and the inflammatory response. However, it is not clear if K13 can also induce gene expression independently of NEMO/IKKγ. The minimum region of NEMO that is sufficient for supporting K13-induced NF-κB has not been delineated. Furthermore, the contribution of NEMO and NF-κB to the protective effect of K13 against death receptor-induced apoptosis remains to be determined. In this study, we used microarray analysis on K13-expressing wild-type and NEMO-deficient cells to demonstrate that NEMO is required for modulation of K13-induced genes. Reconstitution of NEMO-null cells revealed that the N-terminal 251 amino acid residues of NEMO are sufficient for supporting K13-induced NF-κB but fail to support tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α)-induced NF-κB. K13 failed to protect NEMO-null cells against TNF-α-induced cell death but protected those reconstituted with the NEMO mutant truncated to include only the N-terminal 251 amino acid residues [the NEMO(1-251) mutant]. Taken collectively, our results demonstrate that NEMO is required for modulation of K13-induced genes and the N-terminal 251 amino acids of NEMO are sufficient for supporting K13-induced NF-κB. Finally, the ability of K13 to protect against TNF-α-induced cell death is critically dependent on its ability to interact with NEMO and activate NF-κB.

IMPORTANCE:

Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus-encoded vFLIP K13 is believed to protect virally infected cells against death receptor-induced apoptosis and to activate the NF-κB pathway by binding to adaptor protein NEMO/IKKγ. However, whether K13 can also induce gene expression independently of NEMO and the minimum region of NEMO that is sufficient for supporting K13-induced NF-κB remain to be delineated. Furthermore, the contribution of NEMO and NF-κB to the protective effect of K13 against death receptor-induced apoptosis is not clear. We demonstrate that NEMO is required for modulation of K13-induced genes and its N-terminal 251 amino acids are sufficient for supporting K13-induced NF-κB. The ability of K13 to protect against TNF-α-induced cell death is critically dependent on its ability to interact with NEMO and activate NF-κB. Our results suggest that K13-based gene therapy approaches may have utility for the treatment of patients with NEMO mutations and immunodeficiency.

PMID:
24672029
PMCID:
PMC4093867
DOI:
10.1128/JVI.00028-14
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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