July 19, 2019  |  

Highly efficient CRISPR/Cas9-mediated cloning and functional characterization of gastric cancer-derived Epstein-Barr virus strains.

The Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is etiologically linked to approximately 10% of gastric cancers, in which viral genomes are maintained as multicopy episomes. EBV-positive gastric cancer cells are incompetent for progeny virus production, making viral DNA cloning extremely difficult. Here we describe a highly efficient strategy for obtaining bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) clones of EBV episomes by utilizing a CRISPR/Cas9-mediated strand break of the viral genome and subsequent homology-directed repair. EBV strains maintained in two gastric cancer cell lines (SNU719 and YCCEL1) were cloned, and their complete viral genome sequences were determined. Infectious viruses of gastric cancer cell-derived EBVs were reconstituted, and the viruses established stable latent infections in immortalized keratinocytes. While Ras oncoprotein overexpression caused massive vacuolar degeneration and cell death in control keratinocytes, EBV-infected keratinocytes survived in the presence of Ras expression. These results implicate EBV infection in predisposing epithelial cells to malignant transformation by inducing resistance to oncogene-induced cell death.Recent progress in DNA-sequencing technology has accelerated EBV whole-genome sequencing, and the repertoire of sequenced EBV genomes is increasing progressively. Accordingly, the presence of EBV variant strains that may be relevant to EBV-associated diseases has begun to attract interest. Clearly, the determination of additional disease-associated viral genome sequences will facilitate the identification of any disease-specific EBV variants. We found that CRISPR/Cas9-mediated cleavage of EBV episomal DNA enabled the cloning of disease-associated viral strains with unprecedented efficiency. As a proof of concept, two gastric cancer cell-derived EBV strains were cloned, and the infection of epithelial cells with reconstituted viruses provided important clues about the mechanism of EBV-mediated epithelial carcinogenesis. This experimental system should contribute to establishing the relationship between viral genome variation and EBV-associated diseases. Copyright © 2016, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.

July 7, 2019  |  

The genomic sequence of lymphocryptovirus from cynomolgus macaque.

Lymphocryptoviruses such as Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) cause persistent infections in human and non-human primates, and suppression of the immune system can increase the risk of lymphocryptovirus (LCV)-associated tumor development in both human and non-human primates. To enable LCV infection as a non-clinical model to study effects of therapeutics on EBV immunity, we determined the genomic DNA sequence of the LCV from cynomolgus macaque, a species commonly used for non-clinical testing. Comparison to rhesus macaque LCV and human EBV sequences indicates that LCV from the cynomolgus macaque has the same genomic arrangement and a high degree of similarity in most genes, especially with rhesus macaque LCV. Genes showing lower similarity were those encoding proteins involved in latency and/or tumor promotion or immune evasion. The genomic sequence of LCV from cynomolgus macaque should aid the development of non-clinical tools for identifying therapeutics that impact LCV immunity and carry potential lymphoma risk. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

July 7, 2019  |  

Heterogeneity of the Epstein-Barr virus major internal repeat reveals evolutionary mechanisms of EBV and a functional defect in the prototype EBV strain B95-8.

Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is a ubiquitous pathogen of humans that can cause several types of lymphoma and carcinoma. Like other herpesviruses, EBV has diversified both through co-evolution with its host, and genetic exchange between virus strains. Sequence analysis of the EBV genome is unusually challenging, because of the large number and length of repeat regions within the virus. Here we describe the sequence assembly and analysis of the large internal repeat of EBV (IR1 or BamW repeats) from over 70 strains.Diversity of the latency protein EBNA-LP resides predominantly within the exons downstream of IR1. The integrity of the putative BWRF1 ORF is retained in over 80% of strains, and deletions truncating IR1 always spare BWRF1. Conserved regions include the IR1 latency promoter (Wp), and one zone upstream of and two within BWRF1.IR1 is heterogeneous in 70% of strains, and this heterogeneity arises from sequence exchange between strains as well as spontaneous mutation, with inter-strain recombination more common in tumour-derived viruses. This genetic exchange often incorporates regions of <1kb, and allelic gene conversion changes the frequency of small regions within the repeat, but not close to the flanks. These observations suggest that IR1 - and by extension EBV - diversifies through both recombination and breakpoint repair, while concerted evolution of IR1 is driven by gene conversion of small regions. Finally, the prototype EBV strain B95-8 contains four non-consensus variants within a single IR1 repeat unit, including a STOP codon in EBNA-LP. Repairing IR1 improves EBNA-LP levels and the quality of transformation by the B95-8 BAC.IMPORTANCE Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infects the majority of the world population, but only causes illness in a small minority. Nevertheless, over 1% of cancers worldwide are attributable to EBV. Recent sequencing projects investigating virus diversity, to see if different strains have different disease impacts, have excluded regions of repeating sequence, as they are more technically challenging. Here we analyse the sequence of the largest repeat in EBV (IR1). We first characterised the variations in protein sequences encoded across IR1. In studying variations within the repeat of each strain, we identified a mutation in the main laboratory strain of EBV that impairs virus function, and suggest that tumour-associated viruses may be more likely to contain DNA mixed from two strains. Patterns of this mixing suggest that sequences can spread between strains (and also within the repeat) by copying sequence from another strain (or repeat unit) to repair DNA damage. Copyright © 2017 Ba abdullah et al.

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