Disruption of PML-associated nuclear bodies by IE1 correlates with efficient early stages of viral gene expression and DNA replication in human cytomegalovirus infection

Jin Hyun Ahn, Gary S. Hayward

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

113 Scopus citations


In human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) infection, both of the major immediate-early proteins IE1(IE68, UL123) and IE2(IE86, UL122) target to PML protein-associated nuclear bodies known as PODs or ND10 at very early times after infection. IE1 causes a redistribution of both PML and IE1 from the PODs into a nuclear diffuse form, whereas IE2 initially localizes adjacent to PODs but later associates with viral DNA replication compartments. The peripheries of PODs are also believed to be sites for initiation of both viral IE transcription and DNA replication. However, because IE1 is nonessential at high multiplicity of infection (m.o.i.) in HF cells, the exact role of these processes in viral infection has been enigmatic. Therefore, we investigated the effects of overexpression of PML in the presence or absence of IE1 on the intranuclear distribution of IE2 and formation of viral DNA replication compartments, as well as on the levels of delayed-early and late viral transcription and protein accumulation. Infection with wild-type HCMV(Towne) and the IE1-deleted derivative HCMV(CR208), which fails to disrupt PODs, was compared in a pair of related astrocytoma/glioblastoma cell lines, the U373-Neo control and a variant U373-PML that constitutively overexpresses PML(560) in much larger than normal PODs. IFA studies on the localization patterns for IE1, IE2, and PML showed that, although the numbers of IE2-positive cells were not significantly reduced in either the wild-type virus-infected U373-PML cell line or in ΔIE1-infected control cells, POD disruption by IE1 in wild-type virus infection was delayed by up to 6 h in U373-PML cells compared to control cells. Furthermore, there was considerable enhancement of IE2 colocalization with PODs in ΔIE1-infected U373-PML cells. Formation of viral DNA replication compartments in the U373-PML cell line was also greatly delayed, measured at fivefold lower after wild-type virus infection and 12-fold lower after infection with ΔIE1 than in the control cell line at 48 h at an m.o.i. of 1.0. The levels of representative early and late viral proteins detected by Western blotting were suppressed by fivefold and 22-fold at 24 and 72 h, respectively, in the U373-PML cell line, even with high m.o.i. wild-type HCMV infection. Decreased viral protein levels also occurred when control cells were infected with the ΔIE1 virus and these two effects were additive in the U373-PML cell line. Similarly, when U373-PML cells were infected with recombinant HCMV expressing an extragenic luciferase reporter gene under the control of viral early (Pol) or late (pp28) promoters, their transcriptional activation was reduced up to fivefold at both high and low m.o.i. compared to that of the control cells. Overall, these results suggest that POD disruption by IE1 and subsequent redistribution of both PML and IE1 at very early times after infection may play an important role in the efficient utilization of cellular transcription and replication machinery by HCMV and contribute to rapid progression of the HCMV lytic cycle. (C) 2000 Academic Press.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)39-55
Number of pages17
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 15 2000
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Virology


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