Identification of protein tyrosine kinases required for B-cell- receptor-mediated activation of an Epstein-Barr Virus immediate-early gene promoter

Lavens S, Faust EA, Lu F, Jacob M, Leta M, Lieberman PM and Pure E
Source: J Virol
Publication Date: (2004)
Issue: 78(16): 8543-8551
Cells used in publication:
Species: chicken
Tissue Origin: blood
Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) is a potentially oncogenic herpesvirus that infects >90% of the world's population. EBV exists predominantly as a latent infection in B lymphocytes, with periodic lytic-cycle reactivation essential for cellular and host transmission. Viral reactivation can be stimulated by ligand-induced activation of B-cell-receptor (BCR)-coupled signaling pathways. The critical first step in the transition from latency to the lytic cycle is the expression of the viral immediate-early gene BZLF1 through the transcription activation of its promoter, Zp. However, the BCR-coupled signal transduction cascade(s) leading to the induction of Zp and the expression of the BZLF1 gene product, Zta, is currently unclear. A major obstacle to delineating the relevant signal transduction events has been the lack of a model of EBV infection that is amenable to genetic manipulation. The use of the avian B-cell line DT40 has proven to be a powerful tool for delineating BCR-mediated signal transduction pathways that appear to be highly conserved between avian and mammalian systems. We demonstrate that the DT40 cell line is a robust and genetically tractable system for the study of BCR-mediated signaling pathways leading to transcriptional activation of BZLF1. Using this system, we demonstrate that activation of Zp requires the BCR-coupled protein tyrosine kinases Syk and Btk and that it is positively regulated by Lyn. Thus, the use of DT40 cells has allowed us to delineate the early signaling components required for BCR-dependent reactivation of latent EBV, and this system is likely to prove useful for further dissection of the downstream signaling cascades involved.