A lipid modified ubiquitin is packaged into particles of several enveloped viruses.
An anti-ubiquitin cross-reactive protein which migrates more slowly (6.5 kDa) by SDS-PAGE than ubiquitin was identified in African swine fever virus particles. This protein was extracted into the detergent phase in Triton X-114 phase separations, showing that it is hydrophobic, and was radiolabelled with both [3H]palmitic acid and [32P]orthophosphate. This indicates that the protein has a similar structure to the membrane associated phosphatidyl ubiquitin described in baculovirus particles. A similar molecule was found in vaccinia virus and herpes simplex virus particles, suggesting that it may be a component of uninfected cell membranes, which is incorporated into membrane layers in virions during morphogenesis. (+info
Activation of target-tissue immune-recognition molecules by double-stranded polynucleotides.
Abnormal expression of major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I and class II in various tissues is associated with autoimmune disease. Autoimmune responses can be triggered by viral infections or tissue injuries. We show that the ability of a virus or a tissue injury to increase MHC gene expression is duplicated by any fragment of double-stranded (ds) DNA or dsRNA introduced into the cytoplasm of nonimmune cells. Activation is sequence-independent, is induced by ds polynucleotides as small as 25 bp in length, and is not duplicated by single-stranded polynucleotides. In addition to causing abnormal MHC expression, the ds nucleic acids increase the expression of genes necessary for antigen processing and presentation: proteasome proteins (e.g., LMP2), transporters of antigen peptides; invariant chain, HLA-DM, and the costimulatory molecule B7.1. The mechanism is different from and additive to that of gamma-interferon (gammaIFN), i.e., ds polynucleotides increase class I much more than class II, whereas gammaIFN increases class II more than class I. The ds nucleic acids also induce or activate Stat1, Stat3, mitogen-activated protein kinase, NF-kappaB, the class II transactivator, RFX5, and the IFN regulatory factor 1 differently from gammaIFN. CpG residues are not responsible for this effect, and the action of the ds polynucleotides could be shown in a variety of cell types in addition to thyrocytes. We suggest that this phenomenon is a plausible mechanism that might explain how viral infection of tissues or tissue injury triggers autoimmune disease; it is potentially relevant to host immune responses induced during gene therapy. (+info
Use of the Gal4-UAS technique for targeted gene expression in the zebrafish.
The most common way to analyze the function of cloned genes in zebrafish is to misexpress the gene product or an altered variant of it by mRNA injection. However, mRNA injection has several disadvantages. The GAL4-UAS system for targeted gene expression allows one to overcome some of these disadvantages. To test the GAL4-UAS system in zebrafish, we generated two different kinds of stable transgenic lines, carrying activator and effector constructs, respectively. In the activator lines the gene for the yeast transcriptional activator GAL4 is under the control of a given promoter, while in the effectors the gene of interest is fused to the sequence of the DNA-binding motif of GAL4 (UAS). Crosses of animals from the activator and effector lines show that effector genes are transcribed with the spatial pattern of the activators. This work smoothes the way for a novel method of misexpression of gene products in zebrafish in order to analyze the function of genes in developmental processes. (+info
A herpesvirus ribosome-associated, RNA-binding protein confers a growth advantage upon mutants deficient in a GADD34-related function.
The herpes simplex virus type 1 gamma34.5 gene product and the cellular GADD34 protein both contain similar domains that can regulate the activity of eukaryotic initiation factor 2 (eIF2), a critical translation initiation factor. Viral mutants that lack the GADD34-related function grow poorly on a variety of malignant human cells, as activation of the cellular PKR kinase leads to the accumulation of inactive, phosphorylated eIF2 at late times postinfection. Termination of translation prior to the completion of the viral reproductive cycle leads to impaired growth. Extragenic suppressors that regain the ability to synthesize proteins efficiently in the absence of the viral GADD34-related function have been isolated. These suppressor alleles are dominant in trans and affect the steady-state accumulation of several viral mRNA species. We demonstrate that deregulated expression of Us11, a virus-encoded RNA-binding, ribosome-associated protein is necessary and sufficient to confer a growth advantage upon viral mutants that lack a GADD34-related function. Ectopic expression of Us11 reduces the accumulation of the activated cellular PKR kinase and allows for sustained protein synthesis. Thus, an RNA-binding, ribosome-associated protein (Us11) and a GADD34-related protein (gamma34.5) both function in a signal pathway that regulates translation by modulating eIF2 phosphorylation. (+info
Intronless mRNA transport elements may affect multiple steps of pre-mRNA processing.
We have reported recently that a small element within the mouse histone H2a-coding region permits efficient cytoplasmic accumulation of intronless beta-globin cDNA transcripts. This sequence lowers the levels of spliced products from intron-containing constructs and can functionally replace Rev and the Rev-responsive element (RRE) in the nuclear export of unspliced HIV-1-related mRNAs. In work reported here, we further investigate the molecular mechanisms by which this element might work. We demonstrate here through both in vivo and in vitro assays that, in addition to promoting mRNA nuclear export, this element acts as a polyadenylation enhancer and as a potent inhibitor of splicing. Surprisingly, two other described intronless mRNA transport elements (from the herpes simplex virus thymidine kinase gene and hepatitis B virus) appear to function in a similar manner. These findings prompt us to suggest that a general feature of intronless mRNA transport elements might be a collection of phenotypes, including the inhibition of splicing and the enhancement of both polyadenylation and mRNA export. (+info
Antihyperalgesic effects of infection with a preproenkephalin-encoding herpes virus.
To test the utility of gene therapeutic approaches for the treatment of pain, a recombinant herpes simplex virus, type 1, has been engineered to contain the cDNA for an opioid peptide precursor, human preproenkephalin, under control of the human cytomegalovirus promoter. This virus and a similar recombinant containing the Escherichia coli lacZ gene were applied to the abraded skin of the dorsal hindpaw of mice. After infection, the presence of beta-galactosidase in neuronal cell bodies of the relevant spinal ganglia (lacZ-containing virus) and of human proenkephalin (preproenkephalin-encoding virus) in the central terminals of these neurons indicated appropriate gene delivery and expression. Baseline foot withdrawal responses to noxious radiant heat mediated by Adelta and C fibers were similar in animals infected with proenkephalin-encoding and beta-galactosidase-encoding viruses. Sensitization of the foot withdrawal response after application of capsaicin (C fibers) or dimethyl sulfoxide (Adelta fibers) observed in control animals was reduced or eliminated in animals infected with the proenkephalin-encoding virus for at least 7 weeks postinfection. Hence, preproenkephalin cDNA delivery selectively blocked hyperalgesia without disrupting baseline sensory neurotransmission. This blockade of sensitization was reversed by administration of the opioid antagonist naloxone, apparently acting in the spinal cord. The results demonstrate that the function of sensory neurons can be selectively altered by viral delivery of a transgene. Because hyperalgesic mechanisms may be important in establishing and maintaining neuropathic and other chronic pain states, this approach may be useful for treatment of chronic pain and hyperalgesia in humans. (+info
Cooperative therapeutic effects of androgen ablation and adenovirus-mediated herpes simplex virus thymidine kinase gene and ganciclovir therapy in experimental prostate cancer.
Adenovirus-mediated transduction of the herpes simplex thymidine kinase gene (HSV-tk) in conjunction with ganciclovir (GCV) has been shown to result in significant growth suppression and to enhance survival in a model of mouse prostate cancer. However, this therapeutic activity is not sustained, because in most cases tumors eventually regrow and ultimately cause the death of the host. Androgen ablation, an inducer of apoptosis in prostate cells which is used widely as palliative therapy in patients with prostate cancer, was combined with HSV-tk plus GCV using an androgen-sensitive mouse prostate cancer cell line. The combination of castration and HSV-tk plus GCV led to markedly enhanced tumor growth suppression in both subcutaneous and orthotopic models compared with either treatment alone and resulted in an enhanced survival in which combination-treated animals lived twice as long as controls in the subcutaneous model and over 50% longer than controls in the orthotopic model. Further analysis of apoptotic activity demonstrated high levels of apoptosis only in combined androgen ablation and HSV-tk plus GCV-treated tumors after 14 days of growth in an androgen-depleted environment and 8 days after HSV-tk plus GCV therapy. At this time, the apoptotic index, but not the percent of necrotic tissue, was significantly higher for combination therapy-treated tumors relative to control-treated tumors or either treatment alone. These data indicate that the therapeutic effects of androgen ablation and HSV-tk plus GCV are cooperative and that increased apoptosis may, in part, underlie these activities. (+info
Functional domains of c-myc promoter binding protein 1 involved in transcriptional repression and cell growth regulation.
We initially identified c-myc promoter binding protein 1 (MBP-1), which negatively regulates c-myc promoter activity, from a human cervical carcinoma cell expression library. Subsequent studies on the biological role of MBP-1 demonstrated induction of cell death in fibroblasts and loss of anchorage-independent growth, reduced invasive ability, and tumorigenicity of human breast carcinoma cells. To investigate the potential role of MBP-1 as a transcriptional regulator, a chimeric protein containing MBP-1 fused to the DNA binding domain of the yeast transactivator factor GAL4 was constructed. This fusion protein exhibited repressor activity on the herpes simplex virus thymidine kinase promoter via upstream GAL4 DNA binding sites. Structure-function analysis of mutant MBP-1 in the context of the GAL4 DNA binding domain revealed that MBP-1 transcriptional repressor domains are located in the N terminus (amino acids 1 to 47) and C terminus (amino acids 232 to 338), whereas the activation domain lies in the middle (amino acids 140 to 244). The N-terminal domain exhibited stronger transcriptional repressor activity than the C-terminal region. When the N-terminal repressor domain was transferred to a potent activator, transcription was strongly inhibited. Both of the repressor domains contained hydrophobic regions and had an LXVXL motif in common. Site-directed mutagenesis in the repressor domains indicated that the leucine residues in the LXVXL motif are required for transcriptional repression. Mutation of the leucine residues in the common motif of MBP-1 also abrogated the repressor activity on the c-myc promoter. In addition, the leucine mutant forms of MBP-1 failed to suppress cell growth in fibroblasts like wild-type MBP-1. Taken together, our results indicate that MBP-1 is a complex cellular factor containing multiple transcriptional regulatory domains that play an important role in cell growth regulation. (+info