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Published in JOURNAL OF VIROLOGY, Apr. 2008, p. 3590–3603 Vol. 82, No. 7 0022-538X/08/$08.00+0 doi:10.1128/JVI.02229-07 Copyright © 2008, American Society for Microbiology. Used by permission.


Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus/human herpesvirus 8 (KSHV/HHV-8) RTA is an important protein involved in the induction of KSHV lytic replication from latency through activation of the lytic cascade. A number of cellular and viral proteins, including K-RBP, have been found to repress RTA-mediated transactivation and KSHV lytic replication. However, it is unclear as to how RTA overcomes the suppression during lytic reactivation. In this study, we found that RTA can induce K-RBP degradation through the ubiquitinproteasome pathway and that two regions in RTA are responsible. Moreover, we found that RTA can promote the degradation of several other RTA repressors. RTA mutants that are defective in inducing K-RBP degradation cannot activate RTA responsive promoter as efficiently as wild-type RTA. Interference of the ubiquitinproteasome pathway affected RTA-mediated transactivation and KSHV reactivation from latency. Our results suggest that KSHV RTA can stimulate the turnover of repressors to modulate viral reactivation. Since herpes simplex virus type 1 transactivator ICP0 and human cytomegalovirus transactivator pp71 also stimulate the degradation of cellular silencers, it is possible that the promotion of silencer degradation by viral transactivators may be a common mechanism for regulating the lytic replication of herpesviruses.

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