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PLOS ONE  2014 

Analysis of Human Cytomegalovirus-Encoded SUMO Targets and Temporal Regulation of SUMOylation of the Immediate-Early Proteins IE1 and IE2 during Infection

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0103308

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Post-translational modification of proteins by members of the small ubiquitin-like modifier (SUMO) is involved in diverse cellular functions. Many viral proteins are SUMO targets and also interact with the cellular SUMOylation system. During human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) infection, the immediate-early (IE) proteins IE1 and IE2 are covalently modified by SUMO. IE2 SUMOylation promotes its transactivation activity, whereas the role of IE1 SUMOylation is not clear. We performed in silico, genome-wide analysis to identify possible SUMOylation sites in HCMV-encoded proteins and evaluated their modification using the E. coli SUMOylation system and in vitro assays. We found that only IE1 and IE2 are substantially modified by SUMO in E. coli, although US34A was also identified as a possible SUMO target in vitro. We also found that SUMOylation of IE1 and IE2 is temporally regulated during viral infection. Levels of SUMO-modified form of IE1 were increased during the early phase of infection, but decreased in the late phase when IE2 and its SUMO-modified forms were expressed at high levels. IE2 expression inhibited IE1 SUMOylation in cotransfection assays. As in IE2 SUMOylation, PIAS1, a SUMO E3 ligase, interacted with IE1 and enhanced IE1 SUMOylation. In in vitro assays, an IE2 fragment that lacked covalent and non-covalent SUMO attachment sites, but was sufficient for PIAS1 binding, effectively inhibited PIAS1-mediated SUMOylation of IE1, indicating that IE2 expression negatively regulates IE1 SUMOylation. We also found that the IE2-mediated downregulation of IE1 SUMOylation correlates with the IE1 activity to repress the promoter containing the interferon stimulated response elements. Taken together, our data demonstrate that IE1 and IE2 are the main viral SUMO targets in HCMV infection and that temporal regulation of their SUMOylation may be important in the progression of this infection.


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