Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus terminal repeat regulates inducible lytic gene promoters

Yoshihiro Izumiya, Adhraa Algalil, Jonna M. Espera, Hiroki Miura, Chie Izumiya, Tomoki Inagaki, Ashish Kumar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) genome consists of an approximately 140-kb unique coding region flanked by 30–40 copies of a 0.8-kb terminal repeat (TR) sequence. A gene enhancer recruits transcription-related enzymes by having arrays of transcription factor binding sites. Here, we show that KSHV TR possesses transcription regulatory function with latency-associated nuclear antigen (LANA). Cleavage under targets and release using nuclease demonstrated that TR fragments were occupied by LANA-interacting histone-modifying enzymes in naturally infected cells. The TR was enriched with histone H3K27 acetylation (H3K27Ac) and H3K4 tri-methylation (H3K4me3) modifications and also expressed nascent RNAs. The sites of H3K27Ac and H3K4me3 modifications were also conserved in the KSHV unique region among naturally infected primary effusion lymphoma cells. KSHV origin of lytic replication (Ori-Lyt) showed similar protein and histone modification occupancies with that of TR. In the Ori-Lyt region, the LANA and LANA-interacting proteins colocalized with an H3K27Ac-modified nucleosome along with paused RNA polymerase II. The KSHV transactivator KSHV replication and transcription activator (K-Rta) recruitment sites franked the LANA-bound nucleosome, and reactivation evicted the LANA-bound nucleosome. Including TR fragments in reporter plasmid enhanced inducible viral gene promoter activities independent of the orientations. In the presence of TR in reporter plasmids, K-Rta transactivation was drastically increased, while LANA acquired the promoter repression function. KSHV TR, therefore, functions as an enhancer for KSHV inducible genes. However, in contrast to cellular enhancers bound by multiple transcription factors, perhaps the KSHV enhancer is predominantly regulated by the LANA nuclear body. IMPORTANCE Enhancers are a crucial regulator of differential gene expression programs. Enhancers are the cis-regulatory sequences determining target genes’ spatiotemporal and quantitative expression. Here, we show that Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) terminal repeats fulfill the enhancer definition for KSHV inducible gene promoters. The KSHV enhancer is occupied by latency-associated nuclear antigen (LANA) and its interacting proteins, such as CHD4. Neighboring terminal repeat (TR) fragments to lytic gene promoters drastically enhanced KSHV replication and transcription activator and LANA transcription regulatory functions. This study, thus, proposes a new latency–lytic switch model in which TR accessibility to the KSHV gene promoters regulates viral inducible gene expression.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Virology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 02-2024
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Insect Science
  • Virology


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