EBV persistence without its EBNA3A and 3C oncogenes in vivo.
ABSTRACT: The oncogenic Epstein Barr virus (EBV) infects the majority of the human population and usually persists within its host for life without symptoms. The EBV oncoproteins nuclear antigen 3A (EBNA3A) and 3C (EBNA3C) are required for B cell transformation in vitro and are expressed in EBV associated immunoblastic lymphomas in vivo. In order to address the necessity of EBNA3A and EBNA3C for persistent EBV infection in vivo, we infected NOD-scid ?cnull mice with reconstituted human immune system components (huNSG mice) with recombinant EBV mutants devoid of EBNA3A or EBNA3C expression. These EBV mutants established latent infection in secondary lymphoid organs of infected huNSG mice for at least 3 months, but did not cause tumor formation. Low level viral persistence in the absence of EBNA3A or EBNA3C seemed to be supported primarily by proliferation with the expression of early latent EBV gene products transitioning into absent viral protein expression without elevated lytic replication. In vitro, EBNA3A and EBNA3C deficient EBV infected B cells could be rescued from apoptosis through CD40 stimulation, mimicking T cell help in secondary lymphoid tissues. Thus, even in the absence of the oncogenes EBNA3A and 3C, EBV can access a latent gene expression pattern that is reminiscent of EBV persistence in healthy virus carriers without prior expression of its whole growth transforming program.
Project description:As an inhibitor of cyclin-dependent kinases, p16(INK4A) is an important tumour suppressor and inducer of cellular senescence that is often inactivated during the development of cancer by promoter DNA methylation. Using newly established lymphoblastoid cell lines (LCLs) expressing a conditional EBNA3C from recombinant EBV, we demonstrate that EBNA3C inactivation initiates chromatin remodelling that resets the epigenetic status of p16(INK4A) to permit transcriptional activation: the polycomb-associated repressive H3K27me3 histone modification is substantially reduced, while the activation-related mark H3K4me3 is modestly increased. Activation of EBNA3C reverses the distribution of these epigenetic marks, represses p16(INK4A) transcription and allows proliferation. LCLs lacking EBNA3A express relatively high levels of p16(INK4A) and have a similar pattern of histone modifications on p16(INK4A) as produced by the inactivation of EBNA3C. Since binding to the co-repressor of transcription CtBP has been linked to the oncogenic activity of EBNA3A and EBNA3C, we established LCLs with recombinant viruses encoding EBNA3A- and/or EBNA3C-mutants that no longer bind CtBP. These novel LCLs have revealed that the chromatin remodelling and epigenetic repression of p16(INK4A) requires the interaction of both EBNA3A and EBNA3C with CtBP. The repression of p16(INK4A) by latent EBV will not only overcome senescence in infected B cells, but may also pave the way for p16(INK4A) DNA methylation during B cell lymphomagenesis.
Project description:EBV causes human B-cell lymphomas and transforms B cells in vitro. EBNA3C, an EBV protein expressed in latently-infected cells, is required for EBV transformation of B cells in vitro. While EBNA3C undoubtedly plays a key role in allowing EBV to successfully infect B cells, many EBV+ lymphomas do not express this protein, suggesting that cellular mutations and/or signaling pathways may obviate the need for EBNA3C in vivo under certain conditions. EBNA3C collaborates with EBNA3A to repress expression of the CDKN2A-encoded tumor suppressors, p16 and p14, and EBNA3C-deleted EBV transforms B cells containing a p16 germline mutation in vitro. Here we have examined the phenotype of an EBNAC-deleted virus (?3C EBV) in a cord blood-humanized mouse model (CBH). We found that the ?3C virus induced fewer lymphomas (occurring with a delayed onset) in comparison to the wild-type (WT) control virus, although a subset (10/26) of ?3C-infected CBH mice eventually developed invasive diffuse large B cell lymphomas with type III latency. Both WT and ?3C viruses induced B-cell lymphomas with restricted B-cell populations and heterogeneous T-cell infiltration. In comparison to WT-infected tumors, ?3C-infected tumors had greatly increased p16 levels, and RNA-seq analysis revealed a decrease in E2F target gene expression. However, we found that ?3C-infected tumors expressed c-Myc and cyclin E at similar levels compared to WT-infected tumors, allowing cells to at least partially bypass p16-mediated cell cycle inhibition. The anti-apoptotic proteins, BCL2 and IRF4, were expressed in ?3C-infected tumors, likely helping cells avoid c-Myc-induced apoptosis. Unexpectedly, ?3C-infected tumors had increased T-cell infiltration, increased expression of T-cell chemokines (CCL5, CCL20 and CCL22) and enhanced type I interferon response in comparison to WT tumors. Together, these results reveal that EBNA3C contributes to, but is not essential for, EBV-induced lymphomagenesis in CBH mice, and suggest potentially important immunologic roles of EBNA3C in vivo.
Project description:Latent infection of B lymphocytes by Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) in vitro results in their immortalization into lymphoblastoid cell lines (LCLs); this latency program is controlled by the EBNA2 viral transcriptional activator, which targets promoters via RBPJ, a DNA binding protein in the Notch signaling pathway. Three other EBNA3 proteins (EBNA3A, EBNA3B, and EBNA3C) interact with RBPJ to regulate cell gene expression. The mechanism by which EBNAs regulate different genes via RBPJ remains unclear. Our chromatin immunoprecipitation with deep sequencing (ChIP-seq) analysis of the EBNA3 proteins analyzed in concert with prior EBNA2 and RBPJ data demonstrated that EBNA3A, EBNA3B, and EBNA3C bind to distinct, partially overlapping genomic locations. Although RBPJ interaction is critical for EBNA3A and EBNA3C growth effects, only 30 to 40% of EBNA3-bound sites colocalize with RBPJ. Using LCLs conditional for EBNA3A or EBNA3C activity, we demonstrate that EBNA2 binding at sites near EBNA3A- or EBNA3C-regulated genes is specifically regulated by the respective EBNA3. To investigate EBNA3 binding specificity, we identified sequences and transcription factors enriched at EBNA3A-, EBNA3B-, and EBNA3C-bound sites. This confirmed the prior observation that IRF4 is enriched at EBNA3A- and EBNA3C-bound sites and revealed IRF4 enrichment at EBNA3B-bound sites. Using IRF4-negative BJAB cells, we demonstrate that IRF4 is essential for EBNA3C, but not EBNA3A or EBNA3B, binding to specific sites. These results support a model in which EBNA2 and EBNA3s compete for distinct subsets of RBPJ sites to regulate cell genes and where EBNA3 subset specificity is determined by interactions with other cell transcription factors.Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) latent gene products cause human cancers and transform B lymphocytes into immortalized lymphoblastoid cell lines in vitro. EBV nuclear antigens (EBNAs) and membrane proteins constitutively activate pathways important for lymphocyte growth and survival. An important unresolved question is how four different EBNAs (EBNA2, -3A, -3B, and -3C) exert unique effects via a single transcription factor, RBPJ. Here, we report that each EBNA binds to distinct but partially overlapping sets of genomic sites. EBNA3A and EBNA3C specifically regulate EBNA2's access to different RBPJ sites, providing a mechanism by which each EBNA can regulate distinct cell genes. We show that IRF4, an essential regulator of B cell differentiation, is critical for EBNA3C binding specificity; EBNA3A and EBNA3B specificities are likely due to interactions with other cell transcription factors. EBNA3 titration of EBNA2 transcriptional function at distinct sites likely limits cell defenses that would be triggered by unchecked EBNA2 prooncogenic activity.
Project description:Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) causes B cell lymphomas and transforms B cells in vitro The EBV protein EBNA3A collaborates with EBNA3C to repress p16 expression and is required for efficient transformation in vitro An EBNA3A deletion mutant EBV strain was recently reported to establish latency in humanized mice but not cause tumors. Here, we compare the phenotypes of an EBNA3A mutant EBV (?3A) and wild-type (WT) EBV in a cord blood-humanized (CBH) mouse model. The hypomorphic ?3A mutant, in which a stop codon is inserted downstream from the first ATG and the open reading frame is disrupted by a 1-bp insertion, expresses very small amounts of EBNA3A using an alternative ATG at residue 15. ?3A caused B cell lymphomas at rates similar to their induction by WT EBV but with delayed onset. ?3A and WT tumors expressed equivalent levels of EBNA2 and p16, but ?3A tumors in some cases had reduced LMP1. Like the WT EBV tumors, ?3A lymphomas were oligoclonal/monoclonal, with typically one dominant IGHV gene being expressed. Transcriptome sequencing (RNA-seq) analysis revealed small but consistent gene expression differences involving multiple cellular genes in the WT EBV- versus ?3A-infected tumors and increased expression of genes associated with T cells, suggesting increased T cell infiltration of tumors. Consistent with an impact of EBNA3A on immune function, we found that the expression of CLEC2D, a receptor that has previously been shown to influence responses of T and NK cells, was markedly diminished in cells infected with EBNA3A mutant virus. Together, these studies suggest that EBNA3A contributes to efficient EBV-induced lymphomagenesis in CBH mice.IMPORTANCE The EBV protein EBNA3A is expressed in latently infected B cells and is important for efficient EBV-induced transformation of B cells in vitro In this study, we used a cord blood-humanized mouse model to compare the phenotypes of an EBNA3A hypomorph mutant virus (?3A) and wild-type EBV. The ?3A virus caused lymphomas with delayed onset compared to the onset of those caused by WT EBV, although the tumors occurred at a similar rate. The WT EBV and EBNA3A mutant tumors expressed similar levels of the EBV protein EBNA2 and cellular protein p16, but in some cases, ?3A tumors had less LMP1. Our analysis suggested that ?3A-infected tumors have elevated T cell infiltrates and decreased expression of the CLEC2D receptor, which may point to potential novel roles of EBNA3A in T cell and NK cell responses to EBV-infected tumors.
Project description:Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) nuclear antigen 3C (EBNA3C) and EBNA3A are each essential for EBV conversion of primary human B lymphocytes into continuously proliferating lymphoblast cell lines (LCLs) and for maintaining LCL growth. We now find that EBNA3C and EBNA3A's essential roles are to repress p16(INK4A) and p14(ARF). In the absence of EBNA3C or EBNA3A, p16(INK4A) and p14(ARF) expression increased and cell growth ceased. EBNA3C inactivation did not alter p16(INK4A) promoter CpG methylation, but reduced already low H3K27me3, relative to resting B cells, and increased H3K4me3 and H3-acetylation, linking EBNA3C inactivation to histone modifications associated with increased transcription. Importantly, knockdown of p16(INK4A) or p14(ARF) partially rescued LCLs from EBNA3C or EBNA3A inactivation-induced growth arrest and knockdown of both rescued LCL growth, confirming central roles for p16(INK4A) and p14(ARF) in LCL growth arrest following EBNA3C or EBNA3A inactivation. Moreover, blockade of p16(INK4A) and p14(ARF) effects on pRb and p53 by human papilloma virus type 16 E7 and E6 expression, sustained LCL growth after EBNA3C or EBNA3A inactivation. These data indicate that EBNA3C and EBNA3A joint repression of CDKN2A p16(INK4A) and p14(ARF) is essential for LCL growth.
Project description:Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) conversion of B-lymphocytes to Lymphoblastoid Cell Lines (LCLs) requires four EBV nuclear antigen (EBNA) oncoproteins: EBNA2, EBNALP, EBNA3A, and EBNA3C. EBNA2 and EBNALP associate with EBV and cell enhancers, up-regulate the EBNA promoter, MYC, and EBV Latent infection Membrane Proteins (LMPs), which up-regulate BCL2 to protect EBV-infected B-cells from MYC proliferation-induced cell death. LCL proliferation induces p16(INK4A) and p14(ARF)-mediated cell senescence. EBNA3A and EBNA3C jointly suppress p16(INK4A) and p14(ARF), enabling continuous cell proliferation. Analyses of the EBNA3A human genome-wide ChIP-seq landscape revealed 37% of 10,000 EBNA3A sites to be at strong enhancers; 28% to be at weak enhancers; 4.4% to be at active promoters; and 6.9% to be at weak and poised promoters. EBNA3A colocalized with BATF-IRF4, ETS-IRF4, RUNX3, and other B-cell Transcription Factors (TFs). EBNA3A sites clustered into seven unique groups, with differing B-cell TFs and epigenetic marks. EBNA3A coincidence with BATF-IRF4 or RUNX3 was associated with stronger EBNA3A ChIP-Seq signals. EBNA3A was at MYC, CDKN2A/B, CCND2, CXCL9/10, and BCL2, together with RUNX3, BATF, IRF4, and SPI1. ChIP-re-ChIP revealed complexes of EBNA3A on DNA with BATF. These data strongly support a model in which EBNA3A is tethered to DNA through a BATF-containing protein complexes to enable continuous cell proliferation.
Project description:Mature human B cells infected by Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) become activated, grow, and proliferate. If the cells are infected ex vivo, they are transformed into continuously proliferating lymphoblastoid cell lines (LCLs) that carry EBV DNA as extra-chromosomal episomes, express 9 latency-associated EBV proteins, and phenotypically resemble antigen-activated B-blasts. In vivo similar B-blasts can differentiate to become memory B cells (MBC), in which EBV persistence is established. Three related latency-associated viral proteins EBNA3A, EBNA3B, and EBNA3C are transcription factors that regulate a multitude of cellular genes. EBNA3B is not necessary to establish LCLs, but EBNA3A and EBNA3C are required to sustain proliferation, in part, by repressing the expression of tumour suppressor genes. Here we show, using EBV-recombinants in which both EBNA3A and EBNA3C can be conditionally inactivated or using virus completely lacking the EBNA3 gene locus, that-after a phase of rapid proliferation-infected primary B cells express elevated levels of factors associated with plasma cell (PC) differentiation. These include the cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor (CDKI) p18INK4c, the master transcriptional regulator of PC differentiation B lymphocyte-induced maturation protein-1 (BLIMP-1), and the cell surface antigens CD38 and CD138/Syndecan-1. Chromatin immunoprecipitation sequencing (ChIP-seq) and chromatin immunoprecipitation quantitative PCR (ChIP-qPCR) indicate that in LCLs inhibition of CDKN2C (p18INK4c) and PRDM1 (BLIMP-1) transcription results from direct binding of EBNA3A and EBNA3C to regulatory elements at these loci, producing stable reprogramming. Consistent with the binding of EBNA3A and/or EBNA3C leading to irreversible epigenetic changes, cells become committed to a B-blast fate <12 days post-infection and are unable to de-repress p18INK4c or BLIMP-1-in either newly infected cells or conditional LCLs-by inactivating EBNA3A and EBNA3C. In vitro, about 20 days after infection with EBV lacking functional EBNA3A and EBNA3C, cells develop a PC-like phenotype. Together, these data suggest that EBNA3A and EBNA3C have evolved to prevent differentiation to PCs after infection by EBV, thus favouring long-term latency in MBC and asymptomatic persistence.
Project description:We show that two host-encoded primary RNAs (pri-miRs) and the corresponding microRNA (miR) clusters--widely reported to have cell transformation-associated activity--are regulated by EBNA3A and EBNA3C. Utilising a variety of EBV-transformed lymphoblastoid cell lines (LCLs) carrying knockout-, revertant- or conditional-EBV recombinants, it was possible to demonstrate unambiguously that EBNA3A and EBNA3C are both required for transactivation of the oncogenic miR-221/miR-222 cluster that is expressed at high levels in multiple human tumours--including lymphoma/leukemia. ChIP, ChIP-seq, and chromosome conformation capture analyses indicate that this activation results from direct targeting of both EBV proteins to chromatin at the miR-221/miR-222 genomic locus and activation via a long-range interaction between enhancer elements and the transcription start site of a long non-coding pri-miR located 28 kb upstream of the miR sequences. Reduced levels of miR-221/miR-222 produced by inactivation or deletion of EBNA3A or EBNA3C resulted in increased expression of the cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor p57KIP2, a well-established target of miR-221/miR-222. MiR blocking experiments confirmed that miR-221/miR-222 target p57KIP2 expression in LCLs. In contrast, EBNA3A and EBNA3C are necessary to silence the tumour suppressor cluster miR-143/miR-145, but here ChIP-seq suggests that repression is probably indirect. This miR cluster is frequently down-regulated or deleted in human cancer, however, the targets in B cells are unknown. Together these data indicate that EBNA3A and EBNA3C contribute to B cell transformation by inhibiting multiple tumour suppressor proteins, not only by direct repression of protein-encoding genes, but also by the manipulation of host long non-coding pri-miRs and miRs.
Project description:Combination of suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid (SAHA) and bortezomib (SAHA/bortezomib) was shown to synergistically induce killing of lymphoblastoid cell lines (LCL) and Burkitt lymphoma (BL) of type III or Wp-restricted latency, both of which express EBNA3A, -3B and -3C proteins. We hypothesize that SAHA/bortezomib can counteract the survival functions conferred by the EBNA3 proteins. We tested the effect of SAHA/bortezomib on the survival of BL cell lines containing EBNA3A, -3B or -3C knockout EBV with or without the respective revertant EBNA3 genes. Isobologram analysis showed that SAHA/bortezomib induced significantly greater synergistic killing of EBNA3C-revertant cells when compared with EBNA3C-knockout cells. Such differential response was not observed in either EBNA3A or -3B revertant versus their knockout pairs. Interestingly, EBNA3C-knockout cells showed significant G2/M arrest whilst EBNA3C-revertant cells and LCLs escaped G2/M arrest induced by SAHA/bortezomib and became more susceptible to the induction of apoptosis. In parallel, SAHA/bortezomib induced stronger expression of p21WAF1 but weaker expression of p-cdc25c, an M-phase inducer phosphatase, in EBNA3C-expressing cells when compared with EBNA3C-knockout cells. SAHA/bortezomib also induced greater growth suppression of EBNA3C-expressing xenografts (EBNA3C-revertant and LCL) than that of EBNA3C-knockout xenografts in SCID mice. In conclusion, our data showed that SAHA/bortezomib could synergistically induce killing of BL and LCL through counteracting the survival functions of EBNA3C, providing a strong basis for clinical testing of this drug combination in patients with EBV-associated lymphoproliferative diseases.
Project description:This study compares cellular and viral gene expression in a cord blood-humanized (CBH) mouse model infected with wild-type Epstein-Barr virus (WT), versus a mutant EBV deleted in the latent viral EBNA3C gene (∆3C). EBV causes human B-cell lymphomas and transforms B cells in vitro. EBNA3C, an EBV protein expressed in latently infected cells, is required for EBV transformation of B cells in vitro. However, many EBV+ lymphomas in humans do not express this protein, suggesting that it may be less important in vivo or that cellular mutations and/or signaling pathways may obviate the need for EBNA3C. EBNA3C collaborates with EBNA3A to repress expression of the CDKN2A-encoded tumor suppressors, p16 and p14, and EBNA3C-deleted EBV transforms B cells containing a p16 germline mutation in vitro. We found that the ∆3C virus induced fewer lymphomas (occurring with a delayed onset) in comparison to the wild-type (WT) control virus, although a subset (10/26) of Δ3C-infected CBH mice eventually developed invasive diffuse large B cell lymphomas with type III latency. Both WT and ∆3C viruses induced monoclonal B-cell lymphomas (without somatic hyper-mutation) that were infiltrated by polyclonal T cells. In comparison to WT-infected tumors, ∆3C-infected tumors had greatly increased p16 levels, and RNA-seq analysis revealed a decrease in E2F target gene expression. However, we found that ∆3C-infected tumors expressed c-Myc and cyclin E at similar levels compared to WT-infected tumors, allowing cells to at least partially bypass p16-mediated cell cycle inhibition. Unexpectedly, ∆3C-infected tumors had increased T-cell infiltration, increased expression of T-cell chemokines (CCL5, CCL20 and CCL22) and enhanced type I interferon response in comparison to WT tumors. Together, these results reveal that EBNA3C contributes to, but is not essential for, EBV-induced lymphomagenesis in CBH mice, and suggest potentially important immunologic roles of EBNA3C in vivo. Overall design: Cord-blood humanized mice were infected with either wild-type B95.8 EBV or an EBNA3C mutant virus. Following euthanasia, RNA was isolated from the B-cell lymphoma tissue, and RNA-seq libraries were prepared and sequenced using an Illumina HiSeq2000 platform at the University of Wisconsin Biotechnology Center DNA Sequencing Facility. Mouse sequences were removed from analysis. Results from lymphomas infected with wild-type EBV (two different tumors) or EBNA3C mutant virus (two different tumors) are compared. After the initial mapping/QC, the datasets 'wildtype_2' and 'dEBNA3C_3' were considered to be outliers. Therefore, these two sets of data were excluded from expression DEG analysis, and are not included here.