Pickl JM, Kamel W, Ciftci S, Punga T, Akusjärvi G
Cytochrome P450 family member CYP51A1 is a key enzyme in cholesterol biosynthesis whose deregulation is implicated in numerous diseases, including retinal degeneration. Here we describe that HAdV-37 infection leads to downregulation of CYP51A1 expression and overexpression of its antisense non-coding Alu element (AluCYP51A1) in retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) cells. This change in gene expression is associated with a reversed accumulation of a positive histone mark at the CYP51A1 and AluCYP51A1 promoters. Further, transient AluCYP51A1 RNA overexpression correlates with reduced CYP51A1 mRNA accumulation. Collectively, our data suggest that AluCYP51A1 might control CYP51A1 gene expression in HAdV-37-infected RPE cells.