Principal Role of TRAP/Mediator and SWI/SNF Complexes in Kaposi's Sarcoma-Associated Herpesvirus RTA-Mediated Lytic Reactivation


American Society for Microbiology


An important step in the herpesvirus life cycle is the switch from latency to lytic reactivation. The RTA transcription activator of Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) acts as a molecular switch for lytic reactivation. Here we demonstrate that KSHV RTA recruits CBP, the SWI/SNF chromatin remodeling complex, and the TRAP/Mediator coactivator into viral promoters through interactions with a short acidic sequence in the carboxyl region and that this recruitment is essential for RTA-dependent viral gene expression. The Brg1 subunit of SWI/SNF and the TRAP230 subunit of TRAP/Mediator were shown to interact directly with RTA. Consequently, genetic ablation of these interactions abolished KSHV lytic replication. These results demonstrate that the recruitment of CBP, SWI/SNF, and TRAP/Mediator complexes by RTA is the principal mechanism to direct well-controlled viral gene expression and thereby viral lytic reactivation.

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