Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) efficiently immortalizes human B cells in vitro and this requires expression of the viral proteins EBNA2 and EBNA-LP. EBNA2 is a transactivator of viral and cellular gene expression. EBNA-LP is a gene-specific coactivator of EBNA2, which up-regulates expression of the major viral oncoprotein LMP1. The broad objective of our lab is to understand the role of EBNA2 and EBNA-LP in modulating cellular processes that promote B cell immortalization.
Aim 1. Investigate the role of EBNA2 amino acid residues 1-58 in transcription activation and B cell immortalization. EBNA2 amino acid residues 1-58 have a dominant negative effect on full length EBNA2. Specific mutations within EBNA2 conserved regions (CR) 1 and 2, corresponding to residues 1-58, result in defective EBNA2 homo-oligomerization. We have obtained functionally-deficient mutants which are also unable to oligomerize. We will test these mutants in genetic complementation assays for their ability to maintain B cell immortalization. Functional assays will be performed in EBV-positive B cells to determine the ability of these mutant EBNA2 to induce LMP1. qRT-PCR will be used to test whether CR1 and/or CR2 mediate global or gene-specific EBNA2 activity.
Aim 2. Determine the mechanism of EBNA-LP-mediated displacement of SplOO from PML NBs, and how this contributes to EBNA2 coactivation. SplOO amino acid residues 3-152 mediate dimerization, PML NB localization, and interactions with EBNA-LP. To determine how EBNA-LP re-localizes SplOO out of PML NBs, consecutive 15 amino acid deletions have been introduced into SplOO between residues 1- 150. The mutants will be used in Co-IP and IF assays to define critical SplOO residues that mediate self- association, EBNA-LP binding and PML NB localization. The association of EBNA-LP, SplOO, and EBNA2, as well as specific modifications (e.g. methylation) on the LMP1 promoter will be determined by ChIP assays. Relevance: Small molecule inhibitors of EBNA2 function that target oligomerization may be a fruitful therapeutic approach for EBV-related cancers. We will clarify the mechanistic contributions of EBNA-LP in B cell immortalization, as well as the normal role of SplOO, especially as related to autoimmune diseases.
|Echendu, Chisaroka W; Ling, Paul D (2008) Regulation of Sp100A subnuclear localization and transcriptional function by EBNA-LP and interferon. J Interferon Cytokine Res 28:667-78|