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Cell Res. 2011 Aug;21(8):1230-47. doi: 10.1038/cr.2011.53. Epub 2011 Mar 29.

Host-viral effects of chromatin assembly factor 1 interaction with HCMV IE2.

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Genomics Research Center, Academia Sinica, Taipei 115.


Chromatin assembly factor 1 (CAF1) consisting of p150, p60 and p48 is known to assemble histones onto newly synthesized DNA and thus maintain the chromatin structure. Here, we show that CAF1 expression was induced in human cytomegalovirus (HCMV)-infected cells, concomitantly with global chromatin decondensation. This apparent conflict was thought to result, in part, from CAF1 mislocalization to compartments of HCMV DNA synthesis through binding of its largest subunit p150 to viral immediate-early protein 2 (IE2). p150 interaction with p60 and IE2 facilitated HCMV DNA synthesis. The IE2Q548R mutation, previously reported to result in impaired HCMV growth with unknown mechanism, disrupted IE2/p150 and IE2/histones association in our study. Moreover, IE2 interaction with histones partly depends on p150, and the HCMV-induced chromatin decondensation was reduced in cells ectopically expressing the p150 mutant defective in IE2 binding. These results not only indicate that CAF1 was hijacked by IE2 to facilitate the replication of the HCMV genome, suggesting chromatin assembly plays an important role in herpesviral DNA synthesis, but also provide a model of the virus-induced chromatin instability through CAF1.

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