Epstein–Barr virus BZLF1 protein impairs accumulation of host DNA damage proteins at damage sites in response to DNA damage

Abstract

Epstein–Barr virus (EBV) infection is closely associated with several human malignancies including nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC). The EBV immediate-early protein BZLF1 is the key mediator that switches EBV infection from latent to lytic forms. The lytic form of EBV infection has been implicated in human carcinogenesis but its molecular mechanisms remain unclear. BZLF1 has been shown to be a binding partner of several DNA damage response (DDR) proteins. Its functions in host DDR remain unknown. Thus, we explore the effects of BZLF1 on cellular response to DNA damage in NPC cells. We found that expression of BZLF1 impaired the binding between RNF8 and MDC1 (mediator of DNA damage checkpoint 1), which in turn interfered with the localization of RNF8 and 53BP1 to the DNA damage sites. The RNF8-53BP1 pathway is important for repair of DNA double-strand breaks and DNA damage-induced G2/M checkpoint activation. Our results showed that, by impairing DNA damage repair as well as abrogating G2/M checkpoint, BZLF1 induced genomic instability and rendered cells more sensitive to ionizing radiation. Moreover, the blockage of 53BP1 and RNF8 foci formation was recapitulated in EBV-infected cells. Taken together, our study raises the possibility that, by causing mis-localization of important DDR proteins, BZLF1 may function as a link between lytic EBV infection and impaired DNA damage repair, thus contributing to the carcinogenesis of EBV-associated human epithelial malignancies.

DOI: 10.1038/labinvest.2015.69

Cite this paper

@article{Yang2015EpsteinBarrVB, title={Epstein–Barr virus BZLF1 protein impairs accumulation of host DNA damage proteins at damage sites in response to DNA damage}, author={Jie Yang and Wen Deng and Pok Man Hau and Jia Liu and Victoria Ming Yi Lau and Annie L M Cheung and Michael Shing-Yan Huen and Sai-wah Tsao}, journal={Laboratory Investigation}, year={2015}, volume={95}, pages={937-950} }