The human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) virion protein pUL83 (also termed pp65) inhibits the expression of interferon-inducible cellular genes. In this work we demonstrate that pUL83 is also important for efficient induction of transcription from the viral major immediate-early promoter. Infection with a mutant virus containing a premature translation termination codon in the UL83 open reading frame (ORF) (UL83Stop) resulted in decreased transcription from the major immediate-early promoter in a time- and multiplicity-dependent manner. Expression of pUL83 alone is capable of transactivating the promoter in a reporter assay, and pUL83 associates with the promoter in infected cells. To investigate the mechanism by which the protein regulates the major immediate-early promoter, we utilized a mutant virus expressing an epitope-tagged pUL83 from its own promoter to identify protein binding partners for pUL83 during infection. We identified and confirmed the interaction of pUL83 with cellular IFI16 family members throughout the course of HCMV infection. pUL83 recruits IFI16 to the major immediate-early promoter, and IFI16 binding at the promoter is dependent upon the presence of pUL83. Consistent with the results obtained with the UL83Stop virus, infection of IFI16 knockdown cells with wild-type virus resulted in decreased levels of immediate-early transcripts compared to those of control cells. These data identify a previously unknown role for pUL83 in the initiation of the human cytomegalovirus gene expression cascade.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Insect Science