B Cell-Specific Transcription Activator PAX5 Recruits p300 To Support EBNA1-Driven Transcription.J Virol. 2020 03 17; 94(7)JV
The binding of Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) nuclear antigen 1 (EBNA1) to the latent replication origin (oriP) triggers multiple downstream events to support virus-induced pathogenesis and tumorigenesis. Although EBV is widely recognized as a B-lymphotropic infectious agent, little is known about how tissue-specific factors are involved in the establishment of latency. Here, we showed that EBNA1 binds B cell activator PAX5 to promote EBNA1/oriP-dependent binding and transcription. In addition to showing that short hairpin RNA (shRNA)-mediated PAX5 knockdown substantially abrogated the above EBNA1-dependent functions, two mini-EBV reporter plasmids were used to perform nonlytic nano-luciferase (nLuc) activity and chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) assays to show how EBNA1 cooperates with PAX5 to activate the transcription at the oriP site. The expression plasmids of two PAX5 mutants, V26G (EBNA1 binding mutant) and P80R (which remained EBNA1 associated), were used to assess their capability to restore the defects caused by PAX5 depletion in EBNA1/oriP-mediated binding, transcription, and maintenance of the genome copy number of the mini-EBV episome reporter in BJAB cells stably expressing EBNA1 or that of the EBV genome in EBV-infected BJAB cells. Since p300 is known to be associated with PAX5, we showed that the loss of function of the P80R mutant in support of EBNA1/oriP-mediated transcription under PAX5 depletion conditions was linked to its defective binding to p300. ChIP-quantitative PCR (qPCR) confirmed that P80R indeed failed to recruit p300 to the oriP DNA. Our discovery suggests that EBV has evolved an exquisite strategy to take advantage of tissue-specific factors to enable the establishment of viral latency.IMPORTANCE Although B cells are known to be the primary target for EBV infection, there is limited knowledge regarding the mechanism that determines this preferable tissue tropism. An in-depth understanding of the potential link of tissue-specific factors with the viral genes and their functioning is key to deciphering how EBV induces persistent infection in the distinct types of host cells. In this study, a substantial protein-protein interaction mediated by the B cell-specific activator PAX5 and EBNA1 was identified as the general requirement for the binding of EBNA1 to the latent replication origin and for downstream events. Of importance, the EBNA1-PAX5-p300 network is directly linked to EBNA1-dependent transcription. These findings suggest that targeting the viral gene-associated tissue-specific factors may lead to new therapeutic strategies for EBV-associated malignancies.