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PLoS By Category | Recent PLoS Articles
Biochemistry - Hematology - Virology

Latent Epstein-Barr Virus Can Inhibit Apoptosis in B Cells by Blocking the Induction of NOXA Expression
Published: Friday, December 09, 2011
Author: Jade Yee et al.

by Jade Yee, Robert E. White, Emma Anderton, Martin J. Allday

Latent Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) has been shown to protect Burkitt's lymphoma-derived B cells from apoptosis induced by agents that cause damage to DNA, in the context of mutant p53. This protection requires expression of the latency-associated nuclear proteins EBNA3A and EBNA3C and correlates with their ability to cooperate in the repression of the gene encoding the pro-apoptotic, BH3-only protein BIM. Here we confirm that latent EBV in B cells also inhibits apoptosis induced by two other agents – ionomycin and staurosporine – and show that these act by a distinct pathway that involves a p53-independent increase in expression of another pro-apoptotic, BH3-only protein, NOXA. Analyses employing a variety of B cells infected with naturally occurring EBV or B95.8 EBV-BAC recombinant mutants indicated that the block to NOXA induction does not depend on the well-characterized viral latency-associated genes (EBNAs 1, 2, 3A, 3B, 3C, the LMPs or the EBERs) or expression of BIM. Regulation of NOXA was shown to be at least partly at the level of mRNA and the requirement for NOXA to induce cell death in this context was demonstrated by NOXA-specific shRNA-mediated depletion experiments. Although recombinant EBV with a deletion removing the BHRF1 locus – that encodes the BCL2-homologue BHRF1 and three microRNAs – partially abrogates protection against ionomycin and staurosporine, the deletion has no effect on the EBV-mediated block to NOXA accumulation.
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