Marek's Disease Virus Activates the PI3K/Akt Pathway Through Interaction of Its Protein Meq With the P85 Subunit of PI3K to Promote Viral Replication.
ABSTRACT: It is known that viruses can active the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/Akt signaling pathway in host cells to support cell survival and viral replication; however, the role of PI3K/Akt signaling in the pathogenic mechanisms induced by Marek's disease virus (MDV) which causes a neoplastic Marek's disease in poultry, remains unknown. In this study, we showed that MDV activated the PI3K/Akt pathway in chicken embryo fibroblasts (CEFs) at the early phase of infection, whereas treatment with a PI3K inhibitor LY294002 prior to MDV infection decreased viral replication and DNA synthesis. Flow cytometry analysis showed that inhibition of the PI3K/Akt pathway could significantly increase apoptosis in MDV-infected host cells, indicating that activation of PI3K/Akt signaling could facilitate viral replication through support of cell survival during infection. Evaluation of the underlying molecular mechanism by co-immunoprecipitation and laser confocal microscopy revealed that a viral protein Meq interacted with both p85? and p85? regulatory subunits of PI3K and could induce PI3K/Akt signaling in Meq-overexpressing chicken fibroblasts. Our results showed, for the first time, that MDV activated PI3K/Akt signaling in host cells through interaction of its Meq protein with the regulatory p85 subunit of PI3K to delay cell apoptosis and promote viral replication. This study provides clues for further studies of the molecular mechanisms underlying MDV infection and pathogenicity for the host.
Project description:The cellular DNA sensor cGMP-AMP synthase (cGAS) detects cytosolic viral DNA via the stimulator of interferon genes (STING) to initiate innate antiviral response. Herpesviruses are known to target key immune signaling pathways to persist in an immune-competent host. Marek's disease virus (MDV), a highly pathogenic and oncogenic herpesvirus of chickens, can antagonize host innate immune responses to achieve persistent infection. With a functional screen, we identified five MDV proteins that blocked beta interferon (IFN-?) induction downstream of the cGAS-STING pathway. Specifically, the MDV major oncoprotein Meq impeded the recruitment of TANK-binding kinase 1 and IFN regulatory factor 7 (IRF7) to the STING complex, thereby inhibiting IRF7 activation and IFN-? induction. Meq overexpression markedly reduced antiviral responses stimulated by cytosolic DNA, whereas knockdown of Meq heightened MDV-triggered induction of IFN-? and downstream antiviral genes. Moreover, Meq-deficient MDV induced more IFN-? production than wild-type MDV. Meq-deficient MDV also triggered a more robust CD8+ T cell response than wild-type MDV. As such, the Meq-deficient MDV was highly attenuated in replication and lymphoma induction compared to wild-type MDV. Taken together, these results revealed that MDV evades the cGAS-STING DNA sensing pathway, which underpins the efficient replication and oncogenesis. These findings improve our understanding of the virus-host interaction in MDV-induced lymphoma and may contribute to the development of novel vaccines against MDV infection.
Project description:Co-infection of Marek's disease virus (MDV) and reticuloendotheliosis virus (REV) synergistically drives disease progression, yet little is known about the mechanism of the synergism. Here, we found that co-infection of REV and MDV increased their replication via the RIOK3-Akt pathway. Initially, we noticed that the viral titres of MDV and REV significantly increased in REV and MDV co-infected cells compared with single-infected cells. Furthermore, tandem mass tag peptide labelling coupled with LC/MS analysis showed that Akt was upregulated in REV and MDV co-infected cells. Overexpression of Akt promoted synergistic replication of MDV and REV. Conversely, inhibition of Akt suppressed synergistic replication of MDV and REV. However, PI3K inhibition did not affect synergistic replication of MDV and REV, suggesting that the PI3K/Akt pathway is not involved in the synergism of MDV and REV. In addition, we revealed that RIOK3 was recruited to regulate Akt in REV and MDV co-infected cells. Moreover, wild-type RIOK3, but not kinase-dead RIOK3, mediated Akt phosphorylation and promoted synergistic replication of MDV and REV. Our results illustrate that MDV and REV activated a novel RIOK3-Akt signalling pathway to facilitate their synergistic replication.
Project description:Marek's disease (MD) is a neoplastic disease of chickens caused by Marek's disease virus (MDV), a member of the subfamily <i>Alphaherpesvirinae</i> Like other alphaherpesviruses, MDV encodes a serine/threonine protein kinase, U<sub>S</sub>3. The functions of U<sub>S</sub>3 have been extensively studied in other alphaherpesviruses; however, the biological functions of MDV U<sub>S</sub>3 and its substrates have not been studied in detail. In this study, we investigated potential cellular pathways that are regulated by MDV U<sub>S</sub>3 and identified chicken CREB (chCREB) as a substrate of MDV U<sub>S</sub>3. We show that wild-type MDV U<sub>S</sub>3, but not kinase-dead U<sub>S</sub>3 (U<sub>S</sub>3-K220A), increases CREB phosphorylation, leading to recruitment of phospho-CREB (pCREB) to the promoter of the CREB-responsive gene and activation of CREB target gene expression. Using U<sub>S</sub>3 deletion and U<sub>S</sub>3 kinase-dead recombinant MDV, we identified U<sub>S</sub>3-responsive MDV genes during infection and found that the majority of U<sub>S</sub>3-responsive genes were located in the MDV repeat regions. Chromatin immunoprecipitation sequencing (ChIP-seq) studies determined that some U<sub>S</sub>3-regulated genes colocalized with Meq (an MDV-encoded oncoprotein) recruitment sites. Chromatin immunoprecipitation-PCR (ChIP-PCR) further confirmed Meq binding to the <i>ICP4/LAT</i> region, which is also regulated by U<sub>S</sub>3. Furthermore, biochemical studies demonstrated that MDV U<sub>S</sub>3 interacts with Meq in transfected cells and MDV-infected chicken embryonic fibroblasts in a phosphorylation-dependent manner. Finally, <i>in vitro</i> kinase studies revealed that Meq is a U<sub>S</sub>3 substrate. MDV U<sub>S</sub>3 thus acts as an upstream kinase of the CREB signaling pathway to regulate the transcription function of the CREB/Meq heterodimer, which targets cellular and viral gene expression.<b>IMPORTANCE</b> MDV is a potent oncogenic herpesvirus that induces T-cell lymphoma in infected chickens. Marek's disease continues to have a significant economic impact on the poultry industry worldwide. U<sub>S</sub>3 encoded by alphaherpesviruses is a multifunctional kinase involved in the regulation of various cellular pathways. Using an MDV genome quantitative reverse transcriptase PCR (qRT-PCR) array and chromatin immunoprecipitation, we elucidated the role of MDV U<sub>S</sub>3 in viral and cellular gene regulation. Our results provide insights into how viral kinase regulates host cell signaling pathways to activate both viral and host gene expression. This is an important step toward understanding host-pathogen interaction through activation of signaling cascades.
Project description:Marek's disease (MD) is a ubiquitous disease of domesticated chickens and its etiologic agent is the <i>Gallid alphaherpesvirus</i> 2 (GaHV-2), also known as Marek's disease virus (MDV). MD is currently controlled by vaccination using live attenuated strains of MDV (e.g., CVI988/Rispens), non-pathogenic serotypes of MDV (GaHV-3), or non-pathogenic strains of the related <i>Melagrid alphaherpesvirus</i> 1 (MeHV-1). One attractive strategy for the production of new vaccine strains is a recombinant MDV attenuated by the deletion of the major viral oncogene <i>meq</i>. However, <i>meq</i>-deleted variants of MDV cause atrophy of the bursa and thymus in maternal antibody-negative chickens, and the resulting immunosuppression makes them unsuitable. Herein we detail our attempt to mitigate the lymphoid atrophy caused by <i>meq</i>-deleted MDV by further attenuation of the virus through ablation of the viral thymidine kinase (<i>tk</i>) gene. We demonstrate that ablation of the viral <i>tk</i> from the <i>meq</i>-deleted virus rMd5B40/Δ<i>meq</i> resulted in a virus attenuated for replication in vitro and which spared chickens from atrophy of the lymphoid organs in vivo. When the rMd5B40/Δ<i>meq</i>/Δ<i>tk</i>/GFP was used as a vaccine it was protective against challenge with the vv+MDV strain 686, but the protection was less than that provided by the CVI988/Rispens vaccine.
Project description:Marek's disease (MD) is an economically significant disease in chickens that is caused by the highly oncogenic Marek's disease virus (MDV). A major unanswered question is the mechanism of MDV-induced tumor formation. Meq, a bZIP transcription factor discovered in the 1990s, is critically involved in viral oncogenicity, but only a few of its host target genes have been described, impeding our understanding of MDV-induced tumorigenesis. Using chromatin immunoprecipitation-sequencing (ChIP-seq) and microarray analysis, a high-confidence list of Meq binding sites in the chicken genome and a global transcriptome of Meq-responsive genes were generated. Meq binding sites were found to be enriched in the promoter regions of upregulated genes but not in those of downregulated genes. ChIP-seq was also performed for c-Jun, a known heterodimeric partner of Meq. The close location of binding sites of Meq and c-Jun was noted, suggesting cooperativity between these two factors in modulating transcription. Pathway analysis indicated that Meq transcriptionally regulates many genes that are part of several signaling pathways including the extracellular signal-regulated kinase /mitogen-activated protein kinase (ERK/MAPK), Jak-STAT, and ErbB pathways, which are critical for oncogenesis and/or include signaling mediators involved in apoptosis. Meq activates oncogenic signaling cascades by transcriptionally activating major kinases in the ERK/MAPK pathway and simultaneously repressing phosphatases, as verified using inhibitors of MEK and ERK1/2 in a cell proliferation assay. This study provides significant insights into the mechanistic basis of Meq-dependent cell transformation.
Project description:Marek's disease (MD) is an economically significant disease in chickens caused by the highly oncogenic Marek's disease virus (MDV). Understanding the genes and biological pathways that confer MD genetic resistance should lead towards the development of more disease resistant commercial poultry flocks or improved MD vaccines. MDV mEq, a bZIP transcription factor, is largely attributed to viral oncogenicity though only a few host target genes have been described, which has impeded our understanding of MDV-induced tumorigenesis. Given the importance of mEq in MDV-induced pathogenesis, we explored the role of mEq in genetic resistance to MDV. Using global transcriptome analysis and cells from MD resistant or susceptible birds, we compared the response to infection with either wild type MDV or a nononcogenic recombinant lacking mEq. As a result, we identified a number of specific genes and pathways associated with either MD resistance or susceptibility. Additionally, integrating prior information from ChIP-seq, microarray analysis, and SNPs exhibiting allele-specific expression (ASE) in response to MDV infection, we were able to provide evidence for 24 genes that are polymorphic within mEq binding sites are likely to account for gene expression in an allele-specific manner and potentially for the underlying genetic differences in MD incidence.
Project description:Marek's disease virus (MDV) is an acute transforming alphaherpesvirus that causes T-cell lymphomas in chickens. We previously reported the identification of a putative oncogene, meq, that is encoded only by the oncogenic serotype of MDV. The gene product, Meq, is a latent protein that is consistently expressed in MDV-transformed lymphoblastoid cells and tumor cells. Meq has a bZIP (basic leucine zipper) structure resembling the family of Jun/Fos. The mechanism whereby Meq transforms T cells remains poorly understood. In this study, we explored the properties of Meq as a transcriptional factor. We analyzed Meq's dimerization partners and its target genes in MSB-1, an MDV-transformed T-cell line. By using in vitro assays, we first demonstrated Meq's potential to dimerize with a variety of bZIP proteins. We then identified c-Jun as the primary dimerization partner of Meq. Both are found to be colocalized in the nucleus and corecruited to promoters with AP-1 sequences. By using chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP), we scanned the entire MDV genome for Meq binding sites and found three regions that were enriched with Meq binding: the MDV lytic replication origin, the promoter for Meq, and the promoter for ICP4. Transactivation assays using the above promoters showed that Meq/Meq homodimers exhibited repression activity, whereas Meq/Jun heterodimers showed activation. Finally, we were able to show by ChIP that Meq is recruited to the interleukin-2 promoter in a region encompassing an AP-1 site. Thus, in addition to providing general knowledge about the transcriptional properties of Meq, our studies revealed for the first time the ability of Meq to interact with the latent MDV and host genomes. Our data suggest, therefore, a role for Meq in viral genome regulation during latency, in addition to its putative causal role in T-cell transformation.
Project description:MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a class of small (approximately 22-nucleotide) regulatory molecules that block translation or induce degradation of target mRNAs. These have been identified in a wide range of organisms, including viruses. In particular, the oncogenic gammaherpesviruses Kaposi's sarcoma herpesvirus and Epstein-Barr virus encode miRNAs that could potentially regulate either viral or host genes. To determine if Marek's disease virus (MDV), an oncogenic alphaherpesvirus of chickens, encodes miRNAs, we isolated small RNAs from MDV-infected chicken embryo fibroblasts (CEF) and used the 454 Life Sciences sequencing technology to obtain the sequences of 13,679 candidate host and viral small RNAs. Eight miRNAs were found, five of which flank the meq oncogene and three that map to the latency-associated transcript (LAT) region of the genome. The meq gene is unique to pathogenic serotypes of MDV and is transcriptionally active during latency and transformation, and the LAT region of the MDV genome is antisense to the immediate-early gene ICP4. Secondary structure analysis predicted that the regions flanking the miRNAs could form hairpin precursors. Northern blot analysis confirmed expression of all miRNAs in MDV-infected CEF, MDV-induced tumors, and MDV lymphoblastoid cell lines. We propose that the MDV miRNAs function to enable MDV pathogenesis and contribute to MDV-induced transformation of chicken T cells.
Project description:Vaccines play a crucial role in the protection of animals and humans from deadly pathogens. The first vaccine that also protected against cancer was developed against the highly oncogenic herpesvirus Marek's disease virus (MDV). MDV infects chickens and causes severe immunosuppression, neurological signs, and fatal lymphomas, a process that requires the viral oncogene, meq The most frequently used Marek's disease vaccine is the live-attenuated CVI988/Rispens (CVI) strain, which efficiently protects chickens and prevents tumorigenesis. Intriguingly, CVI expresses at least two isoforms of meq; however, it remains unknown to what extent these isoforms contribute to virus attenuation. In this study, we individually examined the contribution of the two CVI-meq isoforms to the attenuation of the vaccine. We inserted the respective isoforms into a very virulent MDV (strain RB-1B), thereby replacing its original meq gene. Surprisingly, we could demonstrate that the longer isoform of meq strongly enhanced virus-induced pathogenesis and tumorigenesis, indicating that other mutations in the CVI genome contribute to virus attenuation. On the contrary, the shorter isoform completely abrogated pathogenesis, demonstrating that changes in the meq gene can indeed play a key role in virus attenuation. Taken together, our study provides important evidence on attenuation of one of the most frequently used veterinary vaccines worldwide.IMPORTANCE Marek's disease virus (MDV) is one of several oncogenic herpesviruses and causes fatal lymphomas in chickens. The current "gold standard" vaccine is the live-attenuated MDV strain CVI988/Rispens (CVI), which is widely used and efficiently prevents tumor formation. Intriguingly, CVI expresses two predominant isoforms of the major MDV oncogene meq: one variant with a regular size of meq (Smeq) and one long isoform (Lmeq) harboring an insertion of 180 bp in the transactivation domain. In our study, we could break the long-standing assumption that the Lmeq isoform is an indicator for virus attenuation. Using recombinant viruses that express the different CVI-meq isoforms, we could demonstrate that both isoforms drastically differ in their abilities to promote pathogenesis and tumor formation in infected chickens.
Project description:A loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) method for the rapid detection of serotype 1 Marek's disease virus (MDV) was developed. The method used a set of three pairs of primers to amplify the MEQ gene for detecting serotype 1 MDV. The MDV LAMP method did not cross-react with serotype 2 and serotype 3, nor did the LAMP primers have binding sites for the common avian DNA viruses (reticuloendotheliosis virus, chicken anemia virus, subgroup J of the avian leukosis virus). Additionally, the assay could detect up to 10 copies of the MEQ gene in the MD viral genome, and it had 10 times higher sensitivity than the traditional PCR methods. The LAMP master mix was stable for 90 days at -20°C. Furthermore, the efficiency of LAMP for detection of serotype 1 MDV in clinical samples was comparable to those of PCR and viral isolation. The LAMP procedure is simple and does not rely on any special equipment. The detection of serotype 1 MDV by LAMP will be useful for detecting and controlling oncogenic Marek's disease.