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A cell cycle regulator, E2F2, and glucocorticoid receptor cooperatively transactivate the bovine alphaherpesvirus 1 immediate early transcription unit 1 promoter.

UNLABELLED: Bovine alphaherpesvirus 1 (BoHV-1) infection causes respiratory tract disorders and immune suppression and may induce bacterial pneumonia. BoHV-1 establishes lifelong latency in sensory neurons after acute infection. Reactivation from latency consistently occurs following stress or intravenous injection of the synthetic corticosteroid dexamethasone (DEX), which mimics stress. The immediate early transcription unit 1 (IEtu1) promoter drives expression of infected cell protein 0 (bICP0) and bICP4, two viral transcriptional regulators necessary for productive infection and reactivation from latency. The IEtu1 promoter contains two glucocorticoid receptor (GR) responsive elements (GREs) that are transactivated by activated GR. GC-rich motifs, including consensus binding sites for specificity protein 1 (Sp1), are in the IEtu1 promoter sequences. E2F family members bind a consensus sequence (TTTCCCGC) and certain specificity protein 1 (Sp1) sites. Consequently, we hypothesized that certain E2F family members activate IEtu1 promoter activity. DEX treatment of latently infected calves increased the number of E2F2+ TG neurons. GR and E2F2, but not E2F1, E2F3a, or E2F3b, cooperatively transactivate a 436-bp cis -regulatory module in the IEtu1 promoter that contains both GREs. A luciferase reporter construct containing a 222-bp fragment downstream of the GREs was transactivated by E2F2 unless two adjacent Sp1 binding sites were mutated. Chromatin immunoprecipitation studies revealed that E2F2 occupied IEtu1 promoter sequences when the BoHV-1 genome was transfected into mouse neuroblastoma (Neuro-2A) or monkey kidney (CV-1) cells. In summary, these findings revealed that GR and E2F2 cooperatively transactivate IEtu1 promoter activity, which is predicted to influence the early stages of BoHV-1 reactivation from latency.

IMPORTANCE: Bovine alpha-herpesvirus 1 (BoHV-1) acute infection in cattle leads to establishment of latency in sensory neurons in the trigeminal ganglia (TG). A synthetic corticosteroid dexamethasone consistently initiates BoHV-1 reactivation in latently infected calves. The BoHV-1 immediate early transcription unit 1 (IEtu1) promoter regulates expression of infected cell protein 0 (bICP0) and bICP4, two viral transcriptional regulators. Hence, the IEtu1 promoter must be activated for the reactivation to occur. The number of TG neurons expressing E2F2, a transcription factor and cell cycle regulator, increased during early stages of reactivation from latency. The glucocorticoid receptor (GR) and E2F2, but not E2F1, E2F3a, or E2F3b, cooperatively transactivated a 436-bp cis -regulatory module (CRM) in the IEtu1 promoter that contains two GR responsive elements. Chromatin immunoprecipitation studies revealed that E2F2 occupies IEtu1 promoter sequences in cultured cells. GR and E2F2 mediate cooperative transactivation of IEtu1 promoter activity, which is predicted to stimulate viral replication following stressful stimuli.

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