Johansson P, Jansson A, Rüetschi U, Rymo L
The latent membrane protein 1 (LMP1) oncogene carried by Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is essential for transformation and maintenance of EBV-immortalized B cells in vitro, and it is expressed in most EBV-associated tumor types. The activation of the NF-kappaB pathway by LMP1 plays a critical role in the upregulation of antiapoptotic proteins. The EBV-encoded EBNA2 transactivator is required for LMP1 activation in latency III, while LMP1 itself appears to be critical for its activation in the latency II gene expression program. In both cases, additional viral and cellular transcription factors are required in mediating transcription activation of the LMP1 promoter. Using DNA affinity purification and chromatin immunoprecipitation assay, we showed here that members of the NF-kappaB transcription factor family bound to the LMP1 promoter in vitro and in vivo. Electrophoretic mobility shift assay analyses indicated the binding of the p50-p50 homodimer and the p65-p50 heterodimer to an NF-kappaB site in the LMP1 promoter. Transient transfections and reporter assays showed that the LMP1 promoter is activated by exogenous expression of NF-kappaB factors in both B cells and epithelial cells. Exogenous expression of NF-kappaB factors in the EBNA2-deficient P3HR1 cell line induced LMP1 protein expression. Overall, our data are consistent with the presence of a positive regulatory circuit between NF-kappaB activation and LMP1 expression.