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Epigenetic transcriptional repression of cellular genes by a viral SET protein

TypeWhite Paper Summary

Viruses recruit host proteins to secure viral genome maintenance and replication. However, whether they modify host histones directly to interfere with chromatin-based transcription is unknown. Here we report that Paramecium bursaria chlorella virus 1 (PBCV-1) encodes a functional SET domain histone Lys methyltransferase (HKMTase) termed vSET, which is linked to rapid inhibition of host transcription after viral infection. We show that vSET is packaged in the PBCV-1 virion, and that it contains a nuclear localization signal and probably represses host transcription by methylating histone H3 at Lys 27 (H3K27), a modification known to trigger gene silencing in eukaryotes. We also show that vSET induces cell accumulation at the G2/M phase by recruiting the Polycomb repressive complex CBX8 to the methylated H3K27 site in a heterologous system. vSET-like proteins that have H3K27 methylation activity are conserved in chlorella viruses. Our findings suggest a viral mechanism to repress gene transcription by direct modification of chromatin by PBCV-1 vSET.

Keywords
Authors
Name:Donald J Tindall
Name:T Yamamoto
Name:E Nishida
Name:Junjie Chen
Name:Wei Wang
Name:JoAnn Powell
Name:Xia Zhang
Name:M J Kang
Name:Hao Li
Name:M Li
Name:James L. Van Etten
Name:Ming-Ming Zhou
Name:Jan M. van Deursen
Name:Olivier Namy
Name:Céline Fabret
Name:Jean-Pierre Rousset
Name:Zheng Fu
Name:Liviu Malureanu
Name:Jun Huang
Name:Yong Hyun Shin
Name:Zhubo Wei
Name:Eric Klann
Name:Pumin Zhang
Name:Xiaowen Wang
Name:Xiaoming Zuo
Name:Xin Jie Chen
Name:Blanka Kucejova
Name:Robin Fåhraeus
Name:Miki Ebisuya
Name:May Nakajima
Name:May Nishida
Organizations
Organization:Penn State university

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