• The interaction of the gammaherpesvirus 68 orf73 protein with cellular BET proteins affects the activation of cell cycle promoters.

      Ottinger, Matthias; Pliquet, Daniel; Christalla, Thomas; Frank, Ronald; Stewart, James P; Schulz, Thomas F; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2009-05)
      Infection of mice with murine gammaherpesvirus 68 (MHV-68) provides a valuable animal model for gamma-2 herpesvirus (rhadinovirus) infection and pathogenesis. The MHV-68 orf73 protein has been shown to be required for the establishment of viral latency in vivo. This study describes a novel transcriptional activation function of the MHV-68 orf73 protein and identifies the cellular bromodomain containing BET proteins Brd2/RING3, Brd3/ORFX, and BRD4 as interaction partners for the MHV-68 orf73 protein. BET protein members are known to interact with acetylated histones, and Brd2 and Brd4 have been implicated in fundamental cellular processes, including cell cycle regulation and transcriptional regulation. Using MHV-68 orf73 peptide array assays, we identified Brd2 and Brd4 interaction sites in the orf73 protein. Mutation of one binding site led to a loss of the interaction with Brd2/4 but not the retinoblastoma protein Rb, to impaired chromatin association, and to a decreased ability to activate the BET-responsive cyclin D1, D2, and E promoters. The results therefore pinpoint the binding site for Brd2/4 in a rhadinoviral orf73 protein and suggest that the recruitment of a member of the BET protein family allows the MHV-68 orf73 protein to activate the promoters of G(1)/S cyclins. These findings point to parallels between the transcriptional activator functions of rhadinoviral orf73 proteins and papillomavirus E2 proteins.
    • Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus viral interferon regulatory factor 4 (vIRF4/K10) is a novel interaction partner of CSL/CBF1, the major downstream effector of Notch signaling.

      Heinzelmann, Katharina; Scholz, Barbara A; Nowak, Agnes; Fossum, Even; Kremmer, Elisabeth; Haas, Juergen; Frank, Ronald; Kempkes, Bettina; Helmholtz Centre for infection research. Inhoffenstr. 7. 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2010-12)
      In cells infected with the Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV), CSL/CBF1 signaling is essential for viral replication and promotes the survival of KSHV-infected cells. CSL/CBF1 is a DNA adaptor molecule which recruits coactivator and corepressor complexes to regulate viral and cellular gene transcription and which is a major downstream effector molecule of activated Notch. The interaction of KSHV RTA and LANA with CSL/CBF1 has been shown to balance the lytic and latent viral life cycle. Here we report that a third KSHV protein, viral interferon regulatory factor 4 (vIRF4/K10), but none of the three other KSHV-encoded vIRFs, interacts with CSL/CBF1. Two regions of vIRF4 with dissimilar affinities contribute to CSL/CBF1 binding. Similar to Notch, vIRF4 targets the hydrophobic pocket in the beta trefoil domain of CSL/CBF1 through a short peptide motif which closely resembles a motif found in Notch but does not strictly follow the ΦWΦP consensus conserved in human and mouse Notch proteins. Our results suggest that vIRF4 might compete with Notch for CSL/CBF1 binding and signaling.
    • Peptide-mediated interference with influenza A virus polymerase.

      Ghanem, Alexander; Mayer, Daniel; Chase, Geoffrey; Tegge, Werner; Frank, Ronald; Kochs, Georg; García-Sastre, Adolfo; Schwemmle, Martin; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2007-07)
      The assembly of the polymerase complex of influenza A virus from the three viral polymerase subunits PB1, PB2, and PA is required for viral RNA synthesis. We show that peptides which specifically bind to the protein-protein interaction domains in the subunits responsible for complex formation interfere with polymerase complex assembly and inhibit viral replication. Specifically, we provide evidence that a 25-amino-acid peptide corresponding to the PA-binding domain of PB1 blocks the polymerase activity of influenza A virus and inhibits viral spread. Targeting polymerase subunit interactions therefore provides a novel strategy to develop antiviral compounds against influenza A virus or other viruses.