2014, Vol.10(10), p.e1004415
Latent infection by Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is highly associated with the endemic form of Burkitt lymphoma (eBL), which typically limits expression of EBV proteins to EBNA-1 (Latency I). Interestingly, a subset of eBLs maintain a variant program of EBV latency - Wp-restricted latency (Wp-R) - that includes expression of the EBNA-3 proteins (3A, 3B and 3C), in addition to EBNA-1. In xenograft assays, Wp-R BL cell lines were notably more tumorigenic than their counterparts that maintain Latency I, suggesting that the additional latency-associated proteins expressed in Wp-R influence cell proliferation and/or survival. Here, we evaluated the contribution of EBNA-3A. Consistent with the enhanced tumorigenic potential of Wp-R BLs, knockdown of EBNA-3A expression resulted in abrupt cell-cycle arrest in G0/G1 that was concomitant with conversion of retinoblastoma protein (Rb) to its hypophosphorylated state, followed by a loss of Rb protein. Comparable results were seen in EBV-immortalized B lymphoblastoid cell lines (LCLs), consistent with the previous observation that EBNA-3A is essential for sustained growth of these cells. In agreement with the known ability of EBNA-3A and EBNA-3C to cooperatively repress p14 ARF and p16 INK4a expression, knockdown of EBNA-3A in LCLs resulted in rapid elevation of p14 ARF and p16 INK4a . By contrast, p16 INK4a was not detectably expressed in Wp-R BL and the low-level expression of p14 ARF was unchanged by EBNA-3A knockdown. Amongst other G1/S regulatory proteins, only p21 WAF1/CIP1 , a potent inducer of G1 arrest, was upregulated following knockdown of EBNA-3A in Wp-R BL Sal cells and LCLs, coincident with hypophosphorylation and destabilization of Rb and growth arrest. Furthermore, knockdown of p21 WAF1/CIP1 expression in Wp-R BL correlated with an increase in cellular proliferation. This novel function of EBNA-3A is distinct from the functions previously described that are shared with EBNA-3C, and likely contributes to the proliferation of Wp-R BL cells and LCLs. ; Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infects over 98% of the population worldwide and is associated with a variety of human cancers. In the healthy host, the virus represses expression of its proteins to avoid detection by the immune system to enable it to remain in the body for the lifetime of its host, a situation known as latency. This downregulation was first observed in EBV-associated Burkitt lymphoma (BL), which classically express only one viral protein, EBNA-1. A subset of BL named Wp-restricted (Wp-R) BL express additional latency-associated viral proteins. Because Wp-R BL also express wild-type p53 (which normally prevents cellular proliferation), we wanted to explore the possibility that these viral proteins play a role in tumorigenesis. Indeed, we have demonstrated that Wp-R BL cells are more tumorigenic in immunocompromised mice than other BL. Here, we have investigated the role of one of these viral proteins, EBNA-3A. If we inhibit the expression of EBNA-3A, Wp-R BL cells fail to proliferate and express increased p21, a cellular protein that inhibits cell proliferation. These results suggest that this previously undescribed function of EBNA-3A plays a role in the proliferation and likely contributes to tumorigenesis in Wp-R BL.
Research Article ; Biology And Life Sciences ; Medicine And Health Sciences