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J Virol. 2019 Jan 4;93(2). pii: e01593-18. doi: 10.1128/JVI.01593-18. Print 2019 Jan 15.

A Genome-Wide Epstein-Barr Virus Polyadenylation Map and Its Antisense RNA to EBNA.

Author information

1
Tumor Virus RNA Biology Section, RNA Biology Laboratory, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Frederick, Maryland, USA.
2
Systems Biology Center, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, USA.
3
Tumor Virus RNA Biology Section, RNA Biology Laboratory, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Frederick, Maryland, USA zhengt@exchange.nih.gov.

Abstract

Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is a ubiquitous human pathogen associated with Burkitt's lymphoma and nasopharyngeal carcinoma. Although the EBV genome harbors more than a hundred genes, a full transcription map with EBV polyadenylation profiles remains unknown. To elucidate the 3' ends of all EBV transcripts genome-wide, we performed the first comprehensive analysis of viral polyadenylation sites (pA sites) using our previously reported polyadenylation sequencing (PA-seq) technology. We identified that EBV utilizes a total of 62 pA sites in JSC-1, 60 in Raji, and 53 in Akata cells for the expression of EBV genes from both plus and minus DNA strands; 42 of these pA sites are commonly used in all three cell lines. The majority of identified pA sites were mapped to the intergenic regions downstream of previously annotated EBV open reading frames (ORFs) and viral promoters. pA sites lacking an association with any known EBV genes were also identified, mostly for the minus DNA strand within the EBNA locus, a major locus responsible for maintenance of viral latency and cell transformation. The expression of these novel antisense transcripts to EBNA were verified by 3' rapid amplification of cDNA ends (RACE) and Northern blot analyses in several EBV-positive (EBV+) cell lines. In contrast to EBNA RNA expressed during latency, expression of EBNA-antisense transcripts, which is restricted in latent cells, can be significantly induced by viral lytic infection, suggesting potential regulation of viral gene expression by EBNA-antisense transcription during lytic EBV infection. Our data provide the first evidence that EBV has an unrecognized mechanism that regulates EBV reactivation from latency.IMPORTANCE Epstein-Barr virus represents an important human pathogen with an etiological role in the development of several cancers. By elucidation of a genome-wide polyadenylation landscape of EBV in JSC-1, Raji, and Akata cells, we have redefined the EBV transcriptome and mapped individual polymerase II (Pol II) transcripts of viral genes to each one of the mapped pA sites at single-nucleotide resolution as well as the depth of expression. By unveiling a new class of viral lytic RNA transcripts antisense to latent EBNAs, we provide a novel mechanism of how EBV might control the expression of viral latent genes and lytic infection. Thus, this report takes another step closer to understanding EBV gene structure and expression and paves a new path for antiviral approaches.

KEYWORDS:

Epstein-Barr virus; RNA-seq; antisense RNA; genome-wide approach; polyadenylation site mapping; tumor virus

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