G-quadruplexes (G4s) are four-stranded nucleic acid structures abundant at gene promoters. They can adopt several distinctive conformations. G4s have been shown to form in the herpes simplex virus-1 (HSV-1) genome during its viral cycle. Here by cross-linking/pull-down assay we identified ICP4, the major HSV-1 transcription factor, as the protein that most efficiently interacts with viral G4s during infection. ICP4 specific and direct binding and unfolding of parallel G4s, including those present in HSV-1 immediate early gene promoters, induced transcription in vitro and in infected cells. This mechanism was also exploited by ICP4 to promote its own transcription. Proximity ligation assay allowed visualization of G4-protein interaction at the single selected G4 in cells. G4 ligands inhibited ICP4 binding to G4s. Our results indicate the existence of a well-defined G4-viral protein network that regulates the productive HSV-1 cycle. They also point to G4s as elements that recruit transcription factors to activate transcription in cells.

Parallel G-quadruplexes recruit the HSV-1 transcription factor ICP4 to promote viral transcription in herpes virus-infected human cells

Frasson I.;Nadai M.;Lago S.;Richter S. N.
2021

Abstract

G-quadruplexes (G4s) are four-stranded nucleic acid structures abundant at gene promoters. They can adopt several distinctive conformations. G4s have been shown to form in the herpes simplex virus-1 (HSV-1) genome during its viral cycle. Here by cross-linking/pull-down assay we identified ICP4, the major HSV-1 transcription factor, as the protein that most efficiently interacts with viral G4s during infection. ICP4 specific and direct binding and unfolding of parallel G4s, including those present in HSV-1 immediate early gene promoters, induced transcription in vitro and in infected cells. This mechanism was also exploited by ICP4 to promote its own transcription. Proximity ligation assay allowed visualization of G4-protein interaction at the single selected G4 in cells. G4 ligands inhibited ICP4 binding to G4s. Our results indicate the existence of a well-defined G4-viral protein network that regulates the productive HSV-1 cycle. They also point to G4s as elements that recruit transcription factors to activate transcription in cells.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11577/3417756
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