Chromatin-Remodeling Factor SPOC1 Acts as a Cellular Restriction Factor against Human Cytomegalovirus by Repressing the Major Immediate Early Promoter.
ABSTRACT: The cellular protein SPOC1 (survival time-associated PHD [plant homeodomain] finger protein in ovarian cancer 1) acts as a regulator of chromatin structure and the DNA damage response. It binds H3K4me2/3-containing chromatin and promotes DNA condensation by recruiting corepressors such as KAP-1 and H3K9 methyltransferases. Previous studies identified SPOC1 as a restriction factor against human adenovirus (HAdV) infection that is antagonized by E1B-55K/E4-orf6-dependent proteasomal degradation. Here, we demonstrate that, in contrast to HAdV-infected cells, SPOC1 is transiently upregulated during the early phase of human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) replication. We show that the expression of immediate early protein 1 (IE1) is sufficient and necessary to induce SPOC1. Additionally, we discovered that during later stages of infection, SPOC1 is downregulated in a glycogen synthase kinase 3? (GSK-3?)-dependent manner. We provide evidence that SPOC1 overexpression severely impairs HCMV replication by repressing the initiation of viral immediate early (IE) gene expression. Consistently, we observed that SPOC1-depleted primary human fibroblasts displayed an augmented initiation of viral IE gene expression. This occurs in a multiplicity of infection (MOI)-dependent manner, a defining hallmark of intrinsic immunity. Interestingly, repression requires the presence of high SPOC1 levels at the start of infection, while later upregulation had no negative impact, suggesting distinct temporal roles of SPOC1 during the HCMV replicative cycle. Mechanistically, we observed a highly specific association of SPOC1 with the major immediate early promoter (MIEP), strongly suggesting that SPOC1 inhibits HCMV replication by MIEP binding and the subsequent recruitment of heterochromatin-building factors. Thus, our data add SPOC1 as a novel factor to the endowment of a host cell to restrict cytomegalovirus infections.IMPORTANCE Accumulating evidence indicates that during millennia of coevolution, host cells have developed a sophisticated compilation of cellular factors to restrict cytomegalovirus infections. Defining this equipment is important to understand cellular barriers against viral infection and to develop strategies to utilize these factors for antiviral approaches. So far, constituents of PML nuclear bodies and interferon gamma-inducible protein 16 (IFI16) were known to mediate intrinsic immunity against HCMV. In this study, we identify the chromatin modulator SPOC1 as a novel restriction factor against HCMV. We show that preexisting high SPOC1 protein levels mediate a silencing of HCMV gene expression via a specific association with an important viral cis-regulatory element, the major immediate early promoter. Since SPOC1 expression varies between cell types, this factor may play an important role in tissue-specific defense against HCMV.
Project description:Earlier studies had suggested that epigenetic mechanisms play an important role in the control of human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) infection. Here we show that productive HCMV infection is indeed under the control of histone H3K27 trimethylation. The histone H3K27 methyltransferase EZH2, and its regulators JARID2 and NDY1/KDM2B repress GFI1, a transcriptional repressor of the major immediate-early promoter (MIEP) of HCMV. Knocking down EZH2, NDY1/KDM2B or JARID2 relieves the repression and results in the upregulation of GFI1. During infection, the incoming HCMV rapidly downregulates the GFI1 mRNA and protein in both wild-type cells and in cells in which EZH2, NDY1/KDM2B or JARID2 were knocked down. However, since the pre-infection levels of GFI1 in the latter cells are significantly higher, the virus fails to downregulate it to levels permissive for MIEP activation and viral infection. Following the EZH2-NDY1/KDM2B-JARID2-independent downregulation of GFI1 in the early stages of infection, the virus also initiates an EZH2-NDY1/?DM2?-JARID2-dependent program that represses GFI1 throughout the infection cycle. The EZH2 knockdown also delays histone H3K27 trimethylation in the immediate early region of HCMV, which is accompanied by a drop in H3K4 trimethylation that may contribute to the shEZH2-mediated repression of the major immediate early HCMV promoter. These data show that HCMV uses multiple mechanisms to allow the activation of the HCMV MIEP and to prevent cellular mechanisms from blocking the HCMV replication program.
Project description:Reactivation from latency requires reinitiation of viral gene expression and culminates in the production of infectious progeny. The major immediate early promoter (MIEP) of human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) drives the expression of crucial lytic cycle transactivators but is silenced during latency in hematopoietic progenitor cells (HPCs). Because the MIEP has poor activity in HPCs, it is unclear how viral transactivators are expressed during reactivation. It has been presumed that viral gene expression is reinitiated via de-repression of the MIEP. We demonstrate that immediate early transcripts arising from reactivation originate predominantly from alternative promoters within the canonical major immediate early locus. Disruption of these intronic promoters results in striking defects in re-expression of viral genes and viral genome replication in the THP-1 latency model. Furthermore, we show that these promoters are necessary for efficient reactivation in primary CD34<sup>+</sup> HPCs. Our findings shift the paradigm for HCMV reactivation by demonstrating that promoter switching governs reactivation from viral latency in a context-specific manner.
Project description:The devastating clinical consequences associated with human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) infection and reactivation underscores the importance of understanding triggers of HCMV reactivation in dendritic cells (DC). Here we show that ERK-mediated reactivation is dependent on the mitogen and stress activated kinase (MSK) family. Furthermore, this MSK mediated response is dependent on CREB binding to the viral major immediate early promoter (MIEP). Specifically, CREB binding to the MIEP provides the target for MSK recruitment. Importantly, MSK mediated phosphorylation of histone H3 is required to promote histone de-methylation and the subsequent exit of HCMV from latency. Taken together, these data suggest that CREB binding to the MIEP is necessary for the recruitment of the kinase activity of MSKs to initiate the chromatin remodelling at the MIEP required for reactivation. Thus the importance of CREB during HCMV reactivation is to promote chromatin modifications conducive for viral gene expression as well as acting as a classical transcription factor. Clearly, specific inhibition of this interaction between CREB and MSKs could provide a strategy for therapeutic intervention.
Project description:Expression of the human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) IE1 and IE2 proteins is critical for the establishment of lytic infection and reactivation from viral latency. Defining the mechanisms controlling IE1 and IE2 expression is therefore important for understanding how HCMV regulates its replicative cycle. Here we identify several novel transcripts encoding full-length IE1 and IE2 proteins during HCMV lytic replication. Two of the alternative major immediate early (MIE) transcripts initiate in the first intron, intron A, of the previously defined MIE transcript, while others extend the 5' untranslated region. Each of the MIE transcripts associates with polyribosomes in infected cells and therefore contributes to IE1 and IE2 protein levels. Surprisingly, deletion of the core promoter region of the major immediate early promoter (MIEP) from a plasmid containing the MIE genomic locus did not completely abrogate IE1 and IE2 expression. Instead, deletion of the MIEP core promoter resulted in increased expression of alternative MIE transcripts, suggesting that the MIEP suppresses the activity of the alternative MIE promoters. While the canonical MIE mRNA was the most abundant transcript at immediate early times, the novel MIE transcripts accumulated to levels equivalent to that of the known MIE transcript later in infection. Using two HCMV recombinants, we found that sequences in intron A of the previously defined MIE transcript are required for efficient IE1 and IE2 expression and viral replication. Together, our results identify new regulatory sequences controlling IE1 and IE2 expression and suggest that multiple transcription units act in concert to regulate IE1 and IE2 expression during lytic infection.The HCMV IE1 and IE2 proteins are critical regulators of HCMV replication, both during primary infection and reactivation from viral latency. This study expands our understanding of the sequences controlling IE1 and IE2 expression by defining novel transcriptional units controlling the expression of full-length IE1 and IE2 proteins. Our results suggest that alternative promoters may allow for IE1 and IE2 expression when MIEP activity is limiting, as occurs in latently infected cells.
Project description:The major immediate-early promoter (MIEP) region of human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) plays a critical role in the regulation of lytic and latent infections by integrating multiple signals supplied by the infecting virus, the type and physiological state of the host cell, and its extracellular surroundings. The interaction of cellular transcription factors with their cognate binding sites, which are present at high densities within the enhancer upstream from the MIEP core promoter, regulate the rate of IE gene transcription and thus affect the outcome of HCMV infection. We have shown previously that the NF-kappaB binding sites within the MIEP enhancer and cellular NF-kappaB activity induced by HCMV infection are required for efficient MIEP activity and viral replication in quiescent cells (P. Caposio, A. Luganini, G. Hahn, S. Landolfo, and G. Gribaudo, Cell. Microbiol. 9:2040-2054, 2007). We now show that the inactivation of either the Elk-1 or serum response factor (SRF) binding site within the enhancer also reduces MIEP activation and viral replication of recombinant HCMV viruses in quiescent fibroblasts. In these cells, we show that the expression of either Elk-1 or SRF is required for optimal IE gene expression, and that the HCMV-stimulated activation of the MEK1/2-ERK1/2 signaling axis leads to Elk-1 transcriptional competency. Furthermore, the replication kinetics of recombinant viruses in which NF-kappaB, Elk-1, and SRF binding sites all are inactivated demonstrate that the higher levels of Elk-1 and SRF binding to MIEP in proliferating cells can compensate even for a lack of HCMV-induced NF-kappaB-mediated MIEP transactivation. These observations highlight the importance of the combination of different MIEP binding sites to optimize IE gene expression in cells in different physiological states.
Project description:Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) latency in the myeloid lineage is maintained by repressive histone modifications around the major immediate early promoter (MIEP), which results in inhibition of the lytic viral life cycle. We now show that pharmacological inhibition of histone deacetylases (HDACs) relieves this repression of the MIEP and induces transient expression of the viral lytic immediate early (IE) antigens but, importantly, not full virus reactivation. In turn, these latently infected cells now become targets for IE-specific cytotoxic T cells (CTLs) which are present at high frequency in all normal healthy HCMV positive carriers but would normally be unable to target latent (lytic antigen-negative) cells. This approach of transiently inducing viral lytic gene expression by HDAC inhibition, in otherwise latently infected cells, offers a window of opportunity to target and purge the latent myeloid cell reservoir by making these normally immunologically undetectable cells visible to pre-existing host immune responses to viral lytic antigens.
Project description:Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) infection directly initiates a signal transduction pathway that leads to activation of a large number of cellular interferon-stimulated genes (ISGs). Our previous studies demonstrated that two interferon response elements, the interferon-stimulated response element and gamma interferon-activated site (GAS), in the ISG promoters serve as HCMV response sites (VRS). Interestingly, two GAS-like VRS elements (VRS1) were also present in the HCMV major immediate-early promoter-enhancer (MIEP/E). In this study, the importance of these VRS elements in viral replication was investigated. We demonstrate that the expression of the major IE genes, IE1 and IE2, is interferon inducible. To understand the biological significance of this signal transduction pathway in HCMV major IE expression, the two VRS1 in the MIEP/E were mutated. Mutant HCMVs in which the VRS elements were deleted or that contained point mutations grew dramatically more slowly than wild-type virus at a low multiplicity of infection (MOI). Insertion of wild-type VRS1 into the mutant viral genome rescued the slow growth phenotype. Furthermore, the expression levels of major IE RNAs and proteins were greatly reduced during infection with the VRS mutants at a low MOI. HCMV microarray analysis indicated that infection of host cells with the VRS mutant virus resulted in a global reduction in the expression of viral genes. Collectively, these data demonstrate that the two VRS elements in the MIEP/E are necessary for efficient viral gene expression and replication. This study suggests that although the HCMV-initiated signal transduction pathway results in induction of cellular antiviral genes, it also functions to stimulate viral major IE gene expression. This might be a new viral strategy in which the pathway is used to regulate gene expression and play a role in reactivation.
Project description:The human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) major immediate-early promoter (MIEP) is one of the first promoters to activate upon infection. To examine HCMV MIEP tissue-specific expression, transgenic mice were established containing the lacZ gene regulated by the MIEP (nucleotides -670 to +54). In the transgenic mice, lacZ expression was demonstrated in 19 of 29 tissues tested by histochemical and immunochemical analyses. These tissues included brain, eye, spinal cord, esophagus, stomach, pancreas, kidney, bladder, testis, ovary, spleen, salivary gland, thymus, bone marrow, skin, cartilage, and cardiac, striated and smooth muscles. Although expression was observed in multiple organs, promoter activity was restricted to specific cell types. The cell types which demonstrated HCMV MIEP expression included retinal cells of the eye, ductile cells of the salivary gland, exocrine cells of the pancreas, mucosal cells of the stomach and intestine, neuronal cells of the brain, muscle fibers, thecal cells of the corpus luteum, and Leydig and sperm cells of the testis. These observations indicate that the HCMV MIEP is not a pan-specific promoter and that the majority of expressing tissues correlate with tissues naturally infected by the virus in the human host.
Project description:Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) infection causes a rapid induction of c-Fos and c-Jun, the major subunits of activator protein 1 (AP-1), which in turn have been postulated to activate the viral immediate-early (IE) genes. Accordingly, the major IE promoter (MIEP) enhancer, a critical control region for initiating lytic HCMV infection and reactivation from the latent state, contains one well-characterized AP-1 site and a second candidate interaction site. In this study we explored the role of these AP-1 elements in the context of the infection. We first show that the distal candidate AP-1 motif binds c-Fos/c-Jun heterodimers (AP-1 complex) and confers c-Fos/c-Jun-mediated activity to a core promoter. Site-directed mutagenesis studies indicate that both AP-1 response elements are critical for 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA)-enhanced MIEP activity in transient-transfection assays. In marked contrast to the results obtained with the isolated promoter, disruption of the AP-1 recognition sites of the MIEP in the context of the infectious HCMV genome has no significant influence on the expression of the MIE protein IE1 or viral replication in different cell types. Moreover, a chimeric murine CMV driven by the HCMV MIEP (hMCMV-ES) with the two AP-1 binding sites mutated is not compromised in virulence, is able to grow and disseminate to different organs of the newborn mice as efficiently as the parental virus, and is competent in reactivation. We show, however, that combined inactivation of the enhancer AP-1 and NF-?B recognition sites leads to an attenuation of the hMCMV-ES in the neonatal murine infection model, not observed when each single element is abolished. Altogether, these results underline the functional redundancy of the MIEP elements, highlighting the plasticity of this region, which probably evolved to ensure maximal transcriptional performance across many diverse environments.
Project description:Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is a ubiquitous pathogen that undergoes latency in cells of the hematopoietic compartment, although the mechanisms underlying establishment and maintenance of latency remain elusive. We previously reported that the HCMV-encoded G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) homolog US28 is required for successful latent infection. We now show that US28 protein (pUS28) provided in trans complements the US28Δ lytic phenotype in myeloid cells, suggesting that sustained US28 expression is necessary for long-term latency. Furthermore, expression of pUS28 at the time of infection represses transcription from the major immediate early promoter (MIEP) within 24 h. However, this repression is only maintained in the presence of continual pUS28 expression provided in trans Our data also reveal that pUS28-mediated signaling attenuates both expression and phosphorylation of cellular fos (c-fos), an AP-1 transcription factor subunit, to repress MIEP-driven transcription. AP-1 binds to the MIEP and promotes lytic replication, and in line with this we find that US28Δ infection results in an increase in AP-1 binding to the MIEP, compared with WT latent infection. Pharmacological inhibition of c-fos represses the MIEP during US28Δ infection to levels similar to those we observe during WT latent infection. Together, our data reveal that US28 is required for both establishment and long-term maintenance of HCMV latency, which is modulated, at least in part, by repressing functional AP-1 binding to the MIEP.