Journal of virology

Transcriptome analysis of Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus during de novo primary infection of human B and endothelial cells.

PMID 25552714


Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) infects many target cells (e.g., endothelial, epithelial, and B cells, keratinocytes, and monocytes) to establish lifelong latent infections. Viral latent-protein expression is critical in inducing and maintaining KSHV latency. Infected cells are programmed to retain the incoming viral genomes during primary infection. Immediately after infection, KSHV transcribes many lytic genes that modulate various cellular pathways to establish successful infection. Analysis of the virion particle showed that the virions contain viral mRNAs, microRNAs, and other noncoding RNAs that are transduced into the target cells during infection, but their biological functions are largely unknown. We performed a comprehensive analysis of the KSHV virion packaged transcripts and the profiles of viral genes transcribed after de novo infections of various cell types (human peripheral blood mononuclear cells [PBMCs], CD14(+) monocytes, and telomerase-immortalized vascular endothelial [TIVE] cells), from viral entry until latency establishment. A next-generation sequence analysis of the total transcriptome showed that several viral RNAs (polyadenylated nuclear RNA, open reading frame 58 [ORF58], ORF59, T0.7, and ORF17) were abundantly present in the KSHV virions and effectively transduced into the target cells. Analysis of the transcription profiles of each viral gene showed specific expression patterns in different cell lines, with the majority of the genes, other than latent genes, silencing after 24 h postinfection. We differentiated the actively transcribing genes from the virion-transduced transcripts using a nascent RNA capture approach (Click-iT chemistry), which identified transcription of a number of viral genes during primary infection. Treating the infected cells with phosphonoacetic acid (PAA) to block the activity of viral DNA polymerase confirmed the involvement of lytic DNA replication during primary infection. To further understand the role of DNA replication during primary infection, we performed de novo PBMC infections with a recombinant ORF59-deleted KSHV virus, which showed significantly reduced numbers of viral copies in the latently infected cells. In summary, the transduced KSHV RNAs as well as the actively transcribed genes control critical processes of early infection to establish KSHV latency. Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) is the causative agent of multiple human malignancies in immunocompromised individuals. KSHV establishes a lifelong latency in the infected host, during which only a limited number of viral genes are expressed. However, a fraction of latently infected cells undergo spontaneous reactivation to produce virions that infect the surrounding cells. These newly infected cells are primed early to retain the incoming viral genome and induce cell growth. KSHV transcribes a variety of lytic proteins during de novo infections that modulate various cellular pathways to establish the latent infection. Interestingly, a large number of viral proteins and RNA are encapsidated in the infectious virions and transduced into the infected cells during a de novo infection. This study determined the kinetics of the viral gene expression during de novo KSHV infections and the functional role of the incoming viral transcripts in establishing latency.