This proposal focuses on regulation of y-herpesvirus latency-associated gene expression in the long-term latency reservoir(s). We have recently shown that murine gammaherpesvirus 68 (yHV68), like EBV, persists within memory B cells. In EBV latently infected memory B cells, there is very limited viral gene expression. In contrast, EBV infection of naive and geminal center B cells leads to expression of a panel of latency-associated genes whose products play a pivotal role in driving differentiation of these virus infected B cells into the memory B cell reservoir. We hypothesize that yHV68 infection of naive B cells also leads to their differentiation into geminal center and memory B cells. We further hypothesize that this differentiation is accompanied by changes in the viral latency-associated gene expression. Importantly, we and others have consistently shown a tight correlation between methylation of the EBV genome and establishment of restricted viral latency programs. The under-representation of CpG dinucleotides in the EBV and yHV68 genomes is evidence that methylation of these viral genomes is a normal part of their life cycle in the infected host. The parallels between EBV and yHV68 latency in vivo justify the proposed characterization of the role of DNA methylation in regulating chronic yHV68 infection in mice. Importantly, EBV genome methylation is a hallmark of all characterized EBV-associated tumors that arise in immunocompetent hosts. The latter provides further impetus to understand the underlying mechanisms involved in, and the relationship between, methylation of y-herpesvirus genomes and chronic infection.
Aim 1. Analysis of EBV restricted latency analyze EBNA1 gene transcription from Qp; assess specificity/targeting of Cp/Wp methylation;
Aim 2. Characterization of yHV68 latency programs characterize latency-associated gene transcription in distinct latency reservoirs; develop yHV68 latency models; map latency-associated viral promoters;
Aim 3. Investigate role of methylation in regulating yHV68 latency-associated gene expression analyze viral genome methylation in naive and memory B cell reservoirs; characterize expression of de novo methyltransferases in B cells; develop recombinant yHV68 that inhibit Dnmt3a/3b expression.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Research Project (R01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Virology - A Study Section (VIRA)
Program Officer
Daschner, Phillip J
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Emory University
Schools of Medicine
United States
Zip Code
Paden, Clinton R; Forrest, J Craig; Moorman, Nathaniel J et al. (2010) Murine gammaherpesvirus 68 LANA is essential for virus reactivation from splenocytes but not long-term carriage of viral genome. J Virol 84:7214-24
Gray, Kathleen S; Forrest, J Craig; Speck, Samuel H (2010) The de novo methyltransferases DNMT3a and DNMT3b target the murine gammaherpesvirus immediate-early gene 50 promoter during establishment of latency. J Virol 84:4946-59
Siegel, Andrea M; Rangaswamy, Udaya Shankari; Napier, Ruth J et al. (2010) Blimp-1-dependent plasma cell differentiation is required for efficient maintenance of murine gammaherpesvirus latency and antiviral antibody responses. J Virol 84:674-85
Collins, Christopher M; Boss, Jeremy M; Speck, Samuel H (2009) Identification of infected B-cell populations by using a recombinant murine gammaherpesvirus 68 expressing a fluorescent protein. J Virol 83:6484-93
Krug, Laurie T; Collins, Christopher M; Gargano, Lisa M et al. (2009) NF-kappaB p50 plays distinct roles in the establishment and control of murine gammaherpesvirus 68 latency. J Virol 83:4732-48
Forrest, J Craig; Speck, Samuel H (2008) Establishment of B-cell lines latently infected with reactivation-competent murine gammaherpesvirus 68 provides evidence for viral alteration of a DNA damage-signaling cascade. J Virol 82:7688-99
Siegel, Andrea M; Herskowitz, Jeremy H; Speck, Samuel H (2008) The MHV68 M2 protein drives IL-10 dependent B cell proliferation and differentiation. PLoS Pathog 4:e1000039
DeZalia, Mark; Speck, Samuel H (2008) Identification of closely spaced but distinct transcription initiation sites for the murine gammaherpesvirus 68 latency-associated M2 gene. J Virol 82:7411-21
Gargano, Lisa M; Moser, Janice M; Speck, Samuel H (2008) Role for MyD88 signaling in murine gammaherpesvirus 68 latency. J Virol 82:3853-63
Evans, Andrew G; Moser, Janice M; Krug, Laurie T et al. (2008) A gammaherpesvirus-secreted activator of Vbeta4+ CD8+ T cells regulates chronic infection and immunopathology. J Exp Med 205:669-84

Showing the most recent 10 out of 38 publications