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N6-methyladenosine modification and the YTHDF2 reader protein play cell type specific roles in lytic viral gene expression during Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus infection.


ABSTRACT: Methylation at the N6 position of adenosine (m6A) is a highly prevalent and reversible modification within eukaryotic mRNAs that has been linked to many stages of RNA processing and fate. Recent studies suggest that m6A deposition and proteins involved in the m6A pathway play a diverse set of roles in either restricting or modulating the lifecycles of select viruses. Here, we report that m6A levels are significantly increased in cells infected with the oncogenic human DNA virus Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV). Transcriptome-wide m6A-sequencing of the KSHV-positive renal carcinoma cell line iSLK.219 during lytic reactivation revealed the presence of m6A across multiple kinetic classes of viral transcripts, and a concomitant decrease in m6A levels across much of the host transcriptome. However, we found that depletion of the m6A machinery had differential pro- and anti-viral impacts on viral gene expression depending on the cell-type analyzed. In iSLK.219 and iSLK.BAC16 cells the pathway functioned in a pro-viral manner, as depletion of the m6A writer METTL3 and the reader YTHDF2 significantly impaired virion production. In iSLK.219 cells the defect was linked to their roles in the post-transcriptional accumulation of the major viral lytic transactivator ORF50, which is m6A modified. In contrast, although the ORF50 mRNA was also m6A modified in KSHV infected B cells, ORF50 protein expression was instead increased upon depletion of METTL3, or, to a lesser extent, YTHDF2. These results highlight that the m6A pathway is centrally involved in regulating KSHV gene expression, and underscore how the outcome of this dynamically regulated modification can vary significantly between cell types.

SUBMITTER: Hesser CR 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC5919695 | BioStudies | 2018-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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