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Virology. 2001 Aug 1;286(2):446-55.

Human-herpesvirus-8-encoded K8 protein colocalizes with the promyelocytic leukemia protein (PML) bodies and recruits p53 to the PML bodies.

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Department of Pathology, National Institute of Infectious Diseases, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 162-8640, Japan.


Promyelocytic leukemia protein (PML) bodies are nuclear sites for both input viral genome deposition and immediate-early (IE) gene transcription during infection with certain human DNA viruses, such as human cytomegalovirus (HCMV), herpes simplex virus type 1, and adenovirus. In this study, we showed that the K8 (K-bZIP) protein, an early protein encoded by the human herpesvirus 8 (HHV-8), colocalized with the PML bodies in HHV-8-infected primary effusion lymphoma cells. Cotransfection of two plasmids expressing the K8 protein and green-fluorescence protein (GFP)-PML fusion protein into 293T cells revealed that the K8 protein colocalized with PML in cells with high PML expression. Overexpression of the K8 protein in Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells with stable GFP-PML expression did not induce the dispersion of the PML bodies, unlike the IE1 protein of HCMV. Transfection of a truncated K8 gene revealed that the leucine zipper domain of the K8 protein was required for the colocalization with PML. We also demonstrated that the K8 protein bound to p53 in vivo and in vitro, and that high expression of the K8 protein caused the accumulation of p53 to the PML bodies in CHO cells, suggesting that the K8 protein functions in the recruitment of p53 to the PML bodies. These data suggest that the K8 protein may be associated with the functional modulation of p53 in the nucleus during the lytic phase of HHV-8.

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