Several of the functions of the human adenovirus type 5 E1B 55kDa protein are fulfilled via the virus-specific E3 ubiquitin ligase it forms with the viral E4 Orf6 protein and several cellular proteins. Important substrates of this enzyme have not been identified, and other functions, including repression of transcription of interferon-sensitive genes, do not require the ligase. We therefore used immunoaffinity purification and liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry of lysates of normal human cells infected in parallel with HAdV-C5 and E1B 55kDa protein-null mutant viruses to identify specifically E1B 55kDa-associated proteins. The resulting set of >90 E1B-associated proteins contained the great majority identified previously, and was enriched for those associated with the ubiquitin-proteasome system, RNA metabolism and the cell cycle. We also report very severe inhibition of viral genome replication when cells were exposed to both specific or non-specific siRNAs and interferon prior to infection.
UNLABELLED: Our previous studies have established that the p53 populations that accumulate in normal human cells exposed to etoposide or infected by an E1B 55-kDa protein-null mutant of human adenovirus type 5 carry a large number of posttranslational modifications at numerous residues (C. J. DeHart, J. S. Chahal, S. J. Flint, and D. H. Perlman, Mol Cell Proteomics 13:1-17, 2014, http://dx.doi.org/10.1074/mcp.M113.030254). In the absence of this E1B protein, the p53 transcriptional program is not induced, and it has been reported that the viral E4 Orf3 protein inactivates p53 (C. Soria, F. E. Estermann, K. C. Espantman, and C. C. O'Shea, Nature 466:1076-1081, 2010, http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature09307). As the latter protein disrupts nuclear Pml bodies, sites at which p53 is modified, we used mass spectrometry to catalogue the posttranscriptional modifications of the p53 population that accumulates when neither the E1B 55-kDa nor the E4 Orf3 protein is made in infected cells. Eighty-five residues carrying 163 modifications were identified. The overall patterns of posttranslational modification of this population and p53 present in cells infected by an E1B 55-kDa-null mutant were similar. The efficiencies with which the two forms of p53 bound to a consensus DNA recognition sequence could not be distinguished and were lower than that of transcriptionally active p53. The absence of the E4 Orf3 protein increased expression of several p53-responsive genes when the E1B protein was also absent from infected cells. However, expression of these genes did not attain the levels observed when p53 was activated in response to etoposide treatment and remained lower than those measured in mock-infected cells.
IMPORTANCE: The tumor suppressor p53, a master regulator of cellular responses to stress, is inactivated and destroyed in cells infected by species C human adenoviruses, such as type 5. It is targeted for proteasomal degradation by the action of a virus-specific E3 ubiquitin ligase that contains the viral E1B 55-kDa and E4 Orf6 proteins, while the E4 Orf3 protein has been reported to block its ability to stimulate expression of p53-dependent genes. The comparisons reported here of the posttranslational modifications and activities of p53 populations that accumulate in infected normal human cells in the absence of both mechanisms of inactivation or of only the E3 ligase revealed little impact of the E4 Orf3 protein. These observations indicate that E4 Orf3-dependent disruption of Pml bodies does not have a major effect on the pattern of p53 posttranslational modifications in adenovirus-infected cells. Furthermore, they suggest that one or more additional viral proteins contribute to blocking p53 activation and the consequences that are deleterious for viral reproduction, such as apoptosis or cell cycle arrest.
Tight confinement of naked genomes within some viruses results in high internal pressure that facilitates their translocation into the host. Adenovirus, however, encodes histone-like proteins that associate with its genome resulting in a confined DNA-protein condensate (core). Cleavage of these proteins during maturation decreases core condensation and primes the virion for proper uncoating via unidentified mechanisms. Here we open individual, mature and immature adenovirus cages to directly probe the mechanics of their chromatin-like cores. We find that immature cores are more rigid than the mature ones, unveiling a mechanical signature of their condensation level. Conversely, intact mature particles demonstrate more rigidity than immature or empty ones. DNA-condensing polyamines revert the mechanics of mature capsid and cores to near-immature values. The combination of these experiments reveals the pressurization of adenovirus particles induced by maturation. We estimate a pressure of ∼30 atm by continuous elasticity, which is corroborated by modeling the adenovirus mini-chromosome as a confined compact polymer. We propose this pressurization as a mechanism that facilitates initiating the stepwise disassembly of the mature particle, enabling its escape from the endosome and final genome release at the nuclear pore.
The p53 tumor suppressor protein accumulates to very high concentrations in normal human fibroblasts infected by adenovirus type 5 mutants that cannot direct assembly of the viral E1B 55-kDa protein-containing E3 ubiquitin ligase that targets p53 for degradation. Despite high concentrations of nuclear p53, the p53 transcriptional program is not induced in these infected cells. We exploited this system to examine select post-translational modifications (PTMs) present on a transcriptionally inert population of endogenous human p53, as well as on p53 activated in response to etoposide treatment of normal human fibroblasts. These forms of p53 were purified from whole cell lysates by means of immunoaffinity chromatography and SDS-PAGE, and peptides derived from them were subjected to nano-ultra-high-performance LC-MS and MS/MS analyses on a high-resolution accurate-mass MS platform (data available via ProteomeXchange, PXD000464). We identified an unexpectedly large number of PTMs, comprising phosphorylation of Ser and Thr residues, methylation of Arg residues, and acetylation, ubiquitinylation, and methylation of Lys residues-for example, some 150 previously undescribed modifications of p53 isolated from infected cells. These modifications were distributed across all functional domains of both forms of the endogenous human p53 protein, as well as those of an orthologous population of p53 isolated from COS-1 cells. Despite the differences in activity, including greater in vitro sequence-specific DNA binding activity exhibited by p53 isolated from etoposide-treated cells, few differences were observed in the location, nature, or relative frequencies of PTMs on the two populations of human p53. Indeed, the wealth of PTMs that we have identified is consistent with a far greater degree of complex, combinatorial regulation of p53 by PTM than previously anticipated.
Although several adenovirus type 5 (Ad5) proteins prevent deleterious consequences of activation of p53, it has been reported that viral replication proceeds more efficiently when human tumor cells produce wild-type compared to mutant p53. We have now exploited RNA interference and lentiviral vectors to achieve essentially complete knockdown of p53 in normal human cells: no effects on the kinetics or efficiency of viral gene expression or production of infectious particles were observed.
To begin to investigate the mechanism by which the human adenovirus type 5 E1B 55-kDa protein protects against the antiviral effects of type 1 interferon (IFN) (J. S. Chahal, J. Qi, and S. J. Flint, PLoS Pathog. 8:e1002853, 2012 [doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1002853]), we examined the effects of precise amino acid substitution in this protein on resistance of viral replication to the cytokine. Only substitution of residues 443 to 448 of E1B for alanine (E1B Sub19) specifically impaired production of progeny virus and resulted in a large defect in viral DNA synthesis in IFN-treated normal human fibroblasts. Untreated or IFN-treated cells infected by this mutant virus (AdEasyE1Sub19) contained much higher steady-state concentrations of IFN-inducible GBP1 and IFIT2 mRNAs than did wild-type-infected cells and of the corresponding newly transcribed pre-mRNAs, isolated exploiting 5'-ethynyluridine labeling and click chemistry. These results indicated that the mutations created by substitution of residues 443 to 448 for alanine (Sub19) impair repression of transcription of IFN-inducible genes, by the E1B, 55-kDa protein, consistent with their location in a segment required for repression of p53-dependent transcription. However, when synthesized alone, the E1B 55-kDa protein inhibited expression of the p53-regulated genes BAX and MDM2 but had no impact whatsoever on induction of IFIT2 and GBP1 expression by IFN. These observations correlate repression of transcription of IFN-inducible genes by the E1B 55-kDa protein with protection against inhibition of viral genome replication and indicate that the E1B 55-kDa protein is not sufficient to establish such transcriptional repression.
Vectors derived from human adenovirus type 5, which typically lack the E1A and E1B genes, induce robust innate immune responses that limit their therapeutic efficacy. We reported previously that the E1B 55 kDa protein inhibits expression of a set of cellular genes that is highly enriched for those associated with anti-viral defense and immune responses, and includes many interferon-sensitive genes. The sensitivity of replication of E1B 55 kDa null-mutants to exogenous interferon (IFN) was therefore examined in normal human fibroblasts and respiratory epithelial cells. Yields of the mutants were reduced at least 500-fold, compared to only 5-fold, for wild-type (WT) virus replication. To investigate the mechanistic basis of such inhibition, the accumulation of viral early proteins and genomes was compared by immunoblotting and qPCR, respectively, in WT- and mutant-infected cells in the absence or presence of exogenous IFN. Both the concentration of viral genomes detected during the late phase and the numbers of viral replication centers formed were strongly reduced in IFN-treated cells in the absence of the E1B protein, despite production of similar quantities of viral replication proteins. These defects could not be attributed to degradation of entering viral genomes, induction of apoptosis, or failure to reorganize components of PML nuclear bodies. Nor was assembly of the E1B- and E4 Orf6 protein- E3 ubiquitin ligase required to prevent inhibition of viral replication by IFN. However, by using RT-PCR, the E1B 55 kDa protein was demonstrated to be a potent repressor of expression of IFN-inducible genes in IFN-treated cells. We propose that a primary function of the previously described transcriptional repression activity of the E1B 55 kDa protein is to block expression of IFN- inducible genes, and hence to facilitate formation of viral replication centers and genome replication.
To investigate further the contribution of the adenovirus type 5 (Ad5) E1B 55-kDa protein to genome replication, viral DNA accumulation was examined in primary human fibroblasts and epithelial cells infected with Ad5 or the E1B 55-kDa-null mutant Hr6. Unexpectedly, all cell types were observed to contain a significantly higher concentration of entering Hr6 than of Ad5 DNA, as did an infectious unit of Hr6. However, the great majority of the Hr6 genomes were degraded soon after entry. As this unusual phenotype cannot be ascribed to the Hr6 E1B frameshift mutation (J. S. Chahal and S. J. Flint, J. Virol. 86:3064-3072, 2012), the sequences of the Ad5 and Hr6 genomes were compared by using high-throughput sequencing. Seven previously unrecognized mutations were identified in the Hr6 genome, two of which result in substitutions in virion proteins, G315V in the preterminal protein (preTP) and A406V in fiber protein IV. Previous observations and the visualization by immunofluorescence of greater numbers of viral genomes entering the cytosol of Hr6-infected cells than of Ad5-infected cells indicated that the fiber mutation could not be responsible for the low-infectivity phenotype of Hr6. However, comparison of the forms of terminal protein present in purified virus particles indicated that the production of mature terminal protein from a processing intermediate is impaired in Hr6 particles. We therefore propose that complete processing of preTP within virus particles is necessary for the ability of viral genomes to become localized at appropriate sites and persist in infected cells.
Previous studies have indicated that the adenovirus type 5 E1B 55-kDa protein facilitates viral DNA synthesis in normal human foreskin fibroblasts (HFFs) but not in primary epithelial cells. To investigate this apparent difference further, viral DNA accumulation was examined in primary human fibroblasts and epithelial cells infected by the mutant AdEasyE1Δ2347, which carries the Hr6 frameshift mutation that prevents production of the E1B 55-kDa protein, in an E1-containing derivative of AdEasy. Impaired viral DNA synthesis was observed in normal HFFs but not in normal human bronchial epithelial cells infected by this mutant. However, acceleration of progression through the early phase, which is significantly slower in HFFs than in epithelial cells, eliminated the dependence of efficient viral DNA synthesis in HFFs on the E1B 55-kDa protein. These observations suggest that timely synthesis of the E1B 55-kDa protein protects normal cells against a host defense that inhibits adenoviral genome replication. One such defense is mediated by the Mre11-Rad50-Nbs1 complex. Nevertheless, examination of the localization of Mre11 and viral proteins by immunofluorescence suggested that this complex is inactivated similarly in AdEasyE1Δ2347 mutant-infected and AdEasyE1-infected HFFs.
One important function of the human adenovirus E1B 55-kDa protein is induction of selective nuclear export of viral late mRNAs. This protein interacts with the viral E4 Orf6 and four cellular proteins to form an infected-cell-specific E3 ubiquitin ligase. The assembly of this enzyme is required for efficient viral late mRNA export, but neither the relevant substrates nor the cellular pathway that exports viral late mRNAs has been identified. We therefore examined the effects on viral late gene expression of inhibition of the synthesis or activity of the mRNA export receptor Nxf1, which was observed to colocalize with the E1B 55-kDa protein in infected cells. When production of Nxf1 was impaired by using RNA interference, the efficiency of viral late mRNA export was reduced to a corresponding degree. Furthermore, synthesis of a dominant-negative derivative of Nxf1 during the late phase of infection interfered with production of a late structural protein. These observations indicate that the Nxf1 pathway is responsible for export of viral late mRNAs. As the infected-cell-specific E3 ubiquitin ligase targets its known substrates for proteasomal degradation, we compared the concentrations of several components of this pathway (Nxf1, Thox1, and Thoc4) in infected cells that did or did not contain this enzyme. Although the concentration of a well-established substrate, Mre11, decreased significantly in cells infected by adenovirus type 5 (Ad5), but not in those infected by the E1B 55-kDa protein-null mutant Hr6, no E1B 55-kDa protein-dependent degradation of the Nxf1 pathway proteins was observed.
Although the adenovirus type 5 (Ad5) E1B 55 kDa protein can bind to RNA in vitro, no UV-light-induced crosslinking of this E1B protein to RNA could be detected in infected cells, under conditions in which RNA binding by a known viral RNA-binding protein (the L4 100 kDa protein) was observed readily. Substitution mutations, including substitutions reported to inhibit RNA binding in vitro, did not impair synthesis of viral early or late proteins or alter significantly the efficiency of viral replication in transformed or normal human cells. However, substitutions of conserved residues in the C-terminal segment of an RNA recognition motif specifically inhibited degradation of Mre11. We conclude that, if the E1B 55 kDa protein binds to RNA in infected cells in the same manner as in in vitro assays, this activity is not required for such well established functions as induction of selective export of viral late mRNAs.
The human adenovirus type 5 (Ad5) E1B 55-kDa protein modulates several cellular processes, including activation of the tumor suppressor p53. Binding of the E1B protein to the activation domain of p53 inhibits p53-dependent transcription. This activity has been correlated with the transforming activity of the E1B protein, but its contribution to viral replication is not well understood. To address this issue, we used microarray hybridization methods to examine cellular gene expression in normal human fibroblasts (HFFs) infected by Ad5, the E1B 55-kDa-protein-null mutant Hr6, or a mutant carrying substitutions that impair repression of p53-dependent transcription. Comparison of the changes in cellular gene expression observed in these and our previous experiments (D. L. Miller et al., Genome Biol. 8:R58, 2007) by significance analysis of microarrays indicated excellent reproducibility. Furthermore, we again observed that Ad5 infection led to efficient reversal of the p53-dependent transcriptional program. As this same response was also induced in cells infected by the two mutants, we conclude that the E1B 55-kDa protein is not necessary to block activation of p53 in Ad5-infected cells. However, groups of cellular genes that were altered in expression specifically in the absence of the E1B protein were identified by consensus k-means clustering of the hybridization data. Statistical analysis of the enrichment of genes associated with specific functions in these clusters established that the E1B 55-kDa protein is necessary for repression of genes encoding proteins that mediate antiviral and immune defenses.
Posttranslational histone modifications are crucial for the modulation of chromatin structure and regulation of transcription. Bromodomains present in many chromatin-associated proteins recognize acetylated lysines in the unstructured N-terminal regions of histones. Here, we report that the double bromodomain proteins Brd2 and Brd3 associate preferentially in vivo with hyperacetylated chromatin along the entire lengths of transcribed genes. Brd2- and Brd3-associated chromatin is significantly enriched in H4K5, H4K12, and H3K14 acetylation and contains relatively little dimethylated H3K9. Both Brd2 and Brd3 allowed RNA polymerase II to transcribe through nucleosomes in a defined transcription system. Such activity depended on specific histone H4 modifications known to be recognized by the Brd proteins. We also demonstrate that Brd2 has intrinsic histone chaperone activity and is required for transcription of the cyclin D1 gene in vivo. These data identify proteins that render nucleosomes marked by acetylation permissive to the passage of elongating RNA polymerase II.
The adenovirus late IVa2 protein is required for maximally efficient transcription from the viral major late (ML) promoter, and hence, the synthesis of the majority of viral late proteins. This protein is a sequence-specific DNA-binding protein that also promotes the assembly of progeny virus particles. Previous studies have established that a IVa2 protein dimer (DEF-B) binds specifically to an intragenic ML promoter sequence necessary for late phase-specific stimulation of ML transcription. However, activation of transcription from the ML promoter correlates with binding of at least one additional infected-cell-specific protein, termed DEF-A, to the promoter. Using an assay for the DNA-binding activity of DEF-A, we identified the unknown protein by using conventional purification methods, purification of FLAG-tagged IVa2-protein-containing complexes, and transient synthesis of viral late proteins. The results of these experiments established that the viral L4 33-kDa protein is the only component of DEF-A: the IVa2 and L4 33-kDa proteins are necessary and sufficient for formation of all previously described complexes in the intragenic control region of the ML promoter. Furthermore, the L4 33-kDa protein binds to the promoter with the specificity characteristic of DEF-A and stimulates transcription from the ML promoter in transient-expression assays.
BACKGROUND: Human adenoviruses, such as serotype 5 (Ad5), encode several proteins that can perturb cellular mechanisms that regulate cell cycle progression and apoptosis, as well as those that mediate mRNA production and translation. However, a global view of the effects of Ad5 infection on such programs in normal human cells is not available, despite widespread efforts to develop adenoviruses for therapeutic applications.
RESULTS: We used two-color hybridization and oligonucleotide microarrays to monitor changes in cellular RNA concentrations as a function of time after Ad5 infection of quiescent, normal human fibroblasts. We observed that the expression of some 2,000 genes, about 10% of those examined, increased or decreased by a factor of two or greater following Ad5 infection, but were not altered in mock-infected cells. Consensus k-means clustering established that the temporal patterns of these changes were unexpectedly complex. Gene Ontology terms associated with cell proliferation were significantly over-represented in several clusters. The results of comparative analyses demonstrate that Ad5 infection induces reversal of the quiescence program and recapitulation of the core serum response, and that only a small subset of the observed changes in cellular gene expression can be ascribed to well characterized functions of the viral E1A and E1B proteins.
CONCLUSION: These findings establish that the impact of adenovirus infection on host cell programs is far greater than appreciated hitherto. Furthermore, they provide a new framework for investigating the molecular functions of viral early proteins and information relevant to the design of conditionally replicating adenoviral vectors.
Eukaryotic genomes are packaged with histones and accessory proteins in the form of chromatin. RNA polymerases and their accessory proteins are sufficient for transcription of naked DNA, but not of chromatin, templates in vitro. In this study, we purified and identified nucleolin as a protein that allows RNA polymerase II to transcribe nucleosomal templates in vitro. As immunofluorescence confirmed that nucleolin localizes primarily to nucleoli with RNA polymerase I, we demonstrated that nucleolin allows RNA polymerase I transcription of chromatin templates in vitro. The results of chromatin immunoprecipitation experiments established that nucleolin is associated with chromatin containing rRNA genes transcribed by RNA polymerase I but not with genes transcribed by RNA polymerase II or III. Knockdown of nucleolin by RNA interference resulted in specific inhibition of RNA polymerase I transcription. We therefore propose that an important function of nucleolin is to permit RNA polymerase I to transcribe nucleolar chromatin.
The human adenovirus type 5 (Ad5) E1B 55-kDa protein is required for selective nuclear export of viral late mRNAs from the nucleus and concomitant inhibition of export of cellular mRNAs in HeLa cells and some other human cell lines, but its contributions(s) to replication in normal human cells is not well understood. We have therefore examined the phenotypes exhibited by viruses carrying mutations in the E1B 55-kDa protein coding sequence in normal human fibroblast (HFFs). Ad5 replicated significantly more slowly in HFFs than it does in tumor cells, a difference that is the result of delayed entry into the late phase of infection. The A143 mutation, which specifically impaired export of viral late mRNAs from the nucleus in infected HeLa cells (R. A. Gonzalez and S. J. Flint, J. Virol. 76:4507-4519, 2002), induced a more severe defect in viral mRNA export in HFFs. This observation indicates that the E1B 55-kDa protein regulates mRNA export during the late phase of infection of normal human cells. Other mutants exhibited phenotypes not observed in HeLa cells. In HFFs infected by the null mutant Hr6, synthesis of viral late mRNAs and proteins was severely impaired. Such defects in late gene expression were the result of inefficient progression into the late phase of infection, for viral DNA synthesis was 10-fold less efficient in Hr6-infected HFFs than in cells infected by Ad5. Similar, but less severe, defects in viral DNA synthesis were induced by the insertion mutation H224, which has been reported to inhibit binding of the E1B 55-kDa protein to p53 (C. C. Kao, P. R. Yew, and A. J. Berk, Virology 179:806-814, 1990).
The human subgroup C adenoviral E1B 55 kDa and E4 Orf6 proteins are required for efficient nuclear export of viral late mRNAs, but the cellular pathway that mediates such export has not been identified. As a first step to develop a general approach to address this issue, we have assessed the utility of cell-permeable peptide inhibitors of cellular export receptors. As both E1B and E4 proteins have been reported to contain a leucine-rich nuclear export signal (NES), we synthesized a cell-permeable peptide containing such an NES. This peptide induced substantial inhibition of export of the E1B protein, whereas a control, non-functional peptide did not. However, under the same conditions, the NES peptide had no effect on export of viral late mRNAs. These observations establish that viral late mRNAs are not exported by exportin1, as well as the value of peptide inhibitors in investigation of mRNA export regulation in adenovirus-infected cells.
Synthesis of progeny DNA genomes in cells infected by human subgroup C adenoviruses leads to several changes in viral gene expression. These changes include transcription from previously silent, late promoters, such as the IV(a2) promoter, and a large increase in the efficiency of major-late (ML) transcription. Some of these changes appear to take place sequentially, because the product of the IV(a2) gene has been implicated in stimulation of ML transcription. Our previous biochemical studies suggested that IV(a2) transcription is regulated by viral DNA synthesis-dependent relief of transcriptional repression by a cellular protein that we termed IV(a2)-RF. To test the relevance of such a repressor-titration mechanism during the viral infectious cycle, we introduced into the endogenous IV(a2) promoter two mutations that impair in vitro-binding of IV(a2)-RF, but introduce no change (Rep7) or one conservative amino acid substitution (Rep6) into the overlapping coding sequence for the viral DNA polymerase. The results of run-on transcription assays indicated that both mutations induced earlier-than-normal and more efficient IV(a2) transcription. Both mutations were also observed to result in modest increases in the efficiency of viral DNA synthesis. However, measurement of the concentration of IV(a2) transcripts as a function of IV(a2) template concentration demonstrated that the Rep mutations increased by up to 60-fold the efficiency with which IV(a2) templates were used during the initial period of the late phase of infection, as predicted by the repressor titration hypothesis. These mutations also increased the efficiency of ML transcription in infected cells.
The E1B 55-kDa and E4 Orf6 proteins of human subgroup C adenoviruses both counter host cell defenses mediated by the cellular p53 protein and regulate viral late gene expression. A complex containing the two proteins has been implicated in induction of selective export of viral late mRNAs from the nucleus to the cytoplasm, with concomitant inhibition of export of the majority of newly synthesized cellular mRNAs. The molecular mechanisms by which these viral proteins subvert cellular pathways of nuclear export are not yet clear. Here, we review recent efforts to identify molecular and biochemical functions of the E1B 55-kDa and E4 Orf6 proteins required for regulation of mRNA export, the several difficulties and discrepancies that have been encountered in studies of these viral proteins, and evidence indicating that the reorganization of the infected cell nucleus and production of viral late mRNA at specific intra-nuclear sites are important determinants of selective mRNA export in infected cells. In our view, it is not yet possible to propose a coherent molecular model for regulation of mRNA export by the E1B 55-kDa and E4 Orf6 proteins. However, it should now be possible to address specific questions about the roles of potentially relevant properties of these viral proteins.