Open reading frame 57 (ORF57) of gamma-2 herpesviruses is a key regulator of viral gene expression. It has been reported to enhance the expression of viral genes by transcriptional, posttranscriptional, or translational activation mechanisms. Previously we have shown that the expression of gH and gL of rhesus monkey rhadinovirus (RRV), a close relative of the human Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV), could be dramatically rescued by codon optimization as well as by ORF57 coexpression (J. P. Bilello, J. S. Morgan, and R. C. Desrosiers, J. Virol. 82:7231-7237, 2008). We show here that ORF57 coexpression and codon optimization had similar effects, except that the rescue of expression by codon optimization was temporally delayed relative to that of ORF57 coexpression. The transfection of gL mRNA directly into cells with or without ORF57 coexpression and with or without codon optimization recapitulated the effects of these modes of induction on transfected DNA. These findings suggested an important role for the enhancement of mRNA stability and/or the translation of mRNA for these very different modes of induced expression. This conclusion was confirmed by several different measures of gH and gL mRNA stability and accumulation with or without ORF57 coexpression and with or without codon optimization. Our results indicate that RRV gH and gL expression is severely limited by the stability of the mRNA and that ORF57 coexpression and codon optimization independently induce gH and gL expression principally by allowing accumulation and translation of these mRNAs.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science