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Disruption of HDAC/CoREST/REST repressor by dnREST reduces genome silencing and increases virulence of herpes simplex virus

Du, Te, Zhou, Guoying, Khan, Shaniya, Gu, Haidong, Roizman, Bernard
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 2010 v.107 no.36 pp. 15904-15909
stop codon, transcription factors, histone deacetylase, Human alphaherpesvirus 1, innate immunity, neurons, DNA, brain, tandem repeat sequences, ganglia, mice, cornea, viruses, herpes simplex, virulence
In nonneuronal cells, herpes simplex virus 1 overcomes host defenses, replicates, and ultimately kills the infected cell. Among the host defenses suppressed by the virus is a repressor complex whose key components are histone deacetylase (HDAC) 1 or 2, RE-1 silencing transcription factor (REST), corepressor of REST (CoREST), and lysine-specific demethylase (LSD) 1. In neurons innervating cells at the portal of entry into the body, the virus establishes a "latent" infection in which viral DNA is silenced with the exception of a family of genes. The question posed here is whether the virus hijacks this repressor complex to silence itself in neurons during the latent state. To test this hypothesis, we inserted into the wild-type virus genome a wild-type REST [recombinant (R) 111], a dominant-negative REST (dnREST) lacking the N- and C-terminal repressor domains (R112), or an insertion control consisting of tandem repeats of stop codons (R113). The recombinant virus R112 carrying the dnREST replicated better and was more virulent than the wild-type parent or the other recombinant viruses when administered by the corneal or i.p. routes. Moreover, in contrast to other recombinants, corneal route inoculation by R112 recombinant virus resulted in higher DNA copy numbers, higher levels of infectious virus in eye, trigeminal ganglion, or brain, and virtually complete destruction of trigeminal ganglia in mice that may ultimately succumb to infection. These results support an earlier conclusion that the HDAC/CoREST/REST/LSD1 repressor complex is a significant component of the host innate immunity and are consistent with the hypothesis that HSV-1 hijacks the repressor to silence itself during latent infection.