Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus fine-tunes the temporal expression of late genes by manipulating a host RNA quality control pathway

Julio C. Ruiz, Anne M. Devlin, Jiwoong Kim, Nicholas K. Conrad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) is a human oncogenic nuclear DNA virus that expresses its genes using the host cell transcription and RNA processing machinery. As a result, KSHV transcripts are subject to degradation by at least two host-mediated nuclear RNA decay pathways, the PABPN1- and poly(A) polymerase α/γ (PAPα/γ)-mediated RNA decay (PPD) pathway and an ARS2-dependent decay pathway. Here, we present global analyses of viral transcript levels to further understand the roles of these decay pathways in KSHV gene expression. Consistent with our recent report that the KSHV ORF57 protein increases viral transcript stability by impeding ARS2-dependent decay, ARS2 knockdown has only modest effects on viral gene expression 24 h after lytic reactivation of wild-type virus. In contrast, inactivation of PPD has more widespread effects, including premature accumulation of late transcripts. The upregulation of late transcripts does not require the primary late-gene-specific viral transactivation factor, suggesting that cryptic transcription produces the transcripts that then succumb to PPD. Remarkably, PPD inactivation has no effect on late transcripts at their proper time of expression. We show that this time-dependent PPD evasion by late transcripts requires the host factor nuclear RNAi-defective 2 (NRDE2), which has previously been reported to protect cellular RNAs by sequestering decay factors. From these studies, we conclude that KSHV uses PPD to fine-tune the temporal expression of its genes by preventing their premature accumulation. IMPORTANCE Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) is an oncogenic gammaherpesvirus that causes Kaposi’s sarcoma and other lymphoproliferative disorders. Nuclear expression of KSHV genes results in exposure to at least two host-mediated nuclear RNA decay pathways, the PABPN1- and PAPα/γ-mediated RNA decay (PPD) pathway and an ARS2-mediated decay pathway. Perhaps unsurprisingly, we previously found that KSHV uses specific mechanisms to protect its transcripts from ARS2-mediated decay. In contrast, here we show that PPD is required to dampen the expression of viral late transcripts that are prematurely transcribed, presumably due to cryptic transcription early in infection. At the proper time for their expression, KSHV late transcripts evade PPD through the activity of the host factor NRDE2. We conclude that KSHV fine-tunes the temporal expression of its genes by modulating PPD activity. Thus, the virus both protects from and exploits the host nuclear RNA decay machinery for proper expression of its genes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere00287-20
JournalJournal of virology
Volume94
Issue number14
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2020

Keywords

  • Gene regulation
  • Herpesviral gene expression
  • KSHV
  • RNA decay
  • RNA quality control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Insect Science
  • Virology

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