Murine gammaherpesvirus 68 (MHV-68), Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (HHV-8), and Epsiein-Barr virus (EBV) are all members of the gammaherpesvirus family, characterized by their ability to establish latency in lymphocytes. The RTA protein, conserved in all gammaherpesvinises, is known to play a critical role in reactivation from latency. Here we report that HHV-8 RTA, not EBV RTA, was able to induce MHV-68 lytic viral proteins and DNA replication and processing and produce viable MHV-68 virions from latently infected cells at levels similar to those for MHV-68 RTA. HHV-8 RTA was also able to activate two MHV-68 lytic promoters, whereas EBV RTA was not. In order to define the domains of RTA responsible for their functional differences in viral promoter activation and initiation of the MHV-68 lytic cycle, chimeric RTA proteins were constructed by exchanging the N-terminal and C-terminal domains of the RTA proteins. Our data suggest that the species specificity of MHV-68 RTA resides in the N-terminal DNA binding domain.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science