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Small Nuclear RNAs Encoded byHerpesvirus saimiriUpregulate the Expression of Genes Linked to T Cell Activation in Virally Transformed T Cells

Current Biology
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2005.04.034
  • Biology


Summary Seven small nuclear RNAs of the Sm class are encoded by Herpesvirus saimiri (HVS), a γ Herpesvirus that causes aggressive T cell leukemias and lymphomas in New World primates and efficiently transforms T cells in vitro [ 1–4]. The Herpesvirus saimiri U RNAs (HSURs) are the most abundant viral transcripts in HVS-transformed, latently infected T cells but are not required for viral replication or transformation in vitro [ 5]. We have compared marmoset T cells transformed with wild-type or a mutant HVS lacking the most highly conserved HSURs, HSURs 1 and 2. Microarray and Northern analyses reveal that HSUR 1 and 2 expression correlates with significant increases in a small number of host mRNAs, including the T cell-receptor β and γ chains, the T cell and natural killer (NK) cell-surface receptors CD52 and DAP10, and intracellular proteins—SKAP55, granulysin, and NKG7—linked to T cell and NK cell activation. Upregulation of three of these transcripts was rescued after transduction of deletion-mutant-HVS-transformed cells with a lentiviral vector carrying HSURs 1 and 2. These changes indicate an unexpected role for the HSURs in regulating a remarkably defined and physiologically relevant set of host targets involved in the activation of virally transformed T cells during latency.

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