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J Virol. 2019 Feb 19;93(5). pii: e01978-18. doi: 10.1128/JVI.01978-18. Print 2019 Mar 1.

Genome-Wide Identification of Direct RTA Targets Reveals Key Host Factors for Kaposi's Sarcoma-Associated Herpesvirus Lytic Reactivation.

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Department of Oral Biology, University of Florida College of Dentistry, Gainesville, Florida, USA
UF Genetics Institute, Gainesville, Florida, USA.
UF Health Cancer Center, Gainesville, Florida, USA.
UF Informatics Institute, Gainesville, Florida, USA.
Department of Oral Biology, University of Florida College of Dentistry, Gainesville, Florida, USA.


Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) is a human oncogenic virus, which maintains the persistent infection of the host by intermittently reactivating from latently infected cells to produce viral progenies. While it is established that the replication and transcription activator (RTA) viral transcription factor is required for the induction of lytic viral genes for KSHV lytic reactivation, it is still unknown to what extent RTA alters the host transcriptome to promote KSHV lytic cycle and viral pathogenesis. To address this question, we performed a comprehensive time course transcriptome analysis during KSHV reactivation in B-cell lymphoma cells and determined RTA-binding sites on both the viral and host genomes, which resulted in the identification of the core RTA-induced host genes (core RIGs). We found that the majority of RTA-binding sites at core RIGs contained the canonical RBP-Jκ-binding DNA motif. Subsequently, we demonstrated the vital role of the Notch signaling transcription factor RBP-Jκ for RTA-driven rapid host gene induction, which is consistent with RBP-Jκ being essential for KSHV lytic reactivation. Importantly, many of the core RIGs encode plasma membrane proteins and key regulators of signaling pathways and cell death; however, their contribution to the lytic cycle is largely unknown. We show that the cell cycle and chromatin regulator geminin and the plasma membrane protein gamma-glutamyltransferase 6, two of the core RIGs, are required for efficient KSHV reactivation and virus production. Our results indicate that host genes that RTA rapidly and directly induces can be pivotal for driving the KSHV lytic cycle.IMPORTANCE The lytic cycle of KSHV is involved not only in the dissemination of the virus but also viral oncogenesis, in which the effect of RTA on the host transcriptome is still unclear. Using genomics approaches, we identified a core set of host genes which are rapidly and directly induced by RTA in the early phase of KSHV lytic reactivation. We found that RTA does not need viral cofactors but requires its host cofactor RBP-Jκ for inducing many of its core RIGs. Importantly, we show a critical role for two of the core RIGs in efficient lytic reactivation and replication, highlighting their significance in the KSHV lytic cycle. We propose that the unbiased identification of RTA-induced host genes can uncover potential therapeutic targets for inhibiting KSHV replication and viral pathogenesis.


Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus; RTA; lytic reactivation; primary effusion lymphoma; regulation of gene expression

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