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See detailVaricella-zoster virus IE63 protein phosphorylation by roscovitine-sensitive cyclin-dependent kinases modulates its cellular localization and activity.
Habran, Lionel ULg; Bontems, Sébastien ULg; Di Valentin, Emmanuel ULg et al

in Journal of Biological Chemistry (2005), 280(32), 29135-43

During the first stage of Varicella-Zoster virus (VZV) infection, IE63 (immediate early 63 protein) is mostly expressed in the nucleus and also slightly in the cytoplasm, and during latency, IE63 ... [more ▼]

During the first stage of Varicella-Zoster virus (VZV) infection, IE63 (immediate early 63 protein) is mostly expressed in the nucleus and also slightly in the cytoplasm, and during latency, IE63 localizes in the cytoplasm quite exclusively. Because phosphorylation is known to regulate various cellular mechanisms, we investigated the impact of phosphorylation by roscovitine-sensitive cyclin-dependent kinase (RSC) on the localization and functional properties of IE63. We demonstrated first that IE63 was phosphorylated on Ser-224 in vitro by CDK1 and CDK5 but not by CDK2, CDK7, or CDK9. Furthermore, by using roscovitine and CDK1 inhibitor III (CiIII), we showed that CDK1 phosphorylated IE63 on Ser-224 in vivo. By mutagenesis and the use of inhibitors, we demonstrated that phosphorylation on Ser-224 was important for the correct localization of the protein. Indeed, the substitution of these residues by alanine led to an exclusive nuclear localization of the protein, whereas mutations into glutamic acid did not modify its subcellular distribution. When transfected or VZV-infected cells were treated with roscovitine or CiIII, an exclusive nuclear localization of IE63 was also observed. By using a transfection assay, we also showed that phosphorylation on Ser-224 and Thr-222 was essential for the down-regulation of the basal activity of the VZV DNA polymerase gene promoter. Similarly, roscovitine and CiIII impaired these properties of the wild-type form of IE63. These observations clearly demonstrated the importance of CDK1-mediated IE63 phosphorylation for a correct distribution of IE63 between both cellular compartments and for its repressive activity toward the promoter tested. [less ▲]

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See detailRegions of the varicella-zoster virus open reading frame 63 latency-associated protein important for replication in vitro are also critical for efficient establishment of latency.
Cohen, Jeffrey I; Krogmann, Tammy; Bontems, Sébastien ULg et al

in Journal of Virology (2005), 79(8), 5069-77

Varicella-zoster virus (VZV) open reading frame 63 (ORF63) is one of the most abundant transcripts expressed during VZV latency in humans, and ORF63 protein has been detected in human ganglia by several ... [more ▼]

Varicella-zoster virus (VZV) open reading frame 63 (ORF63) is one of the most abundant transcripts expressed during VZV latency in humans, and ORF63 protein has been detected in human ganglia by several laboratories. Deletion of over 90% of the ORF63 gene showed that the protein is required for efficient establishment of latency in rodents. We have constructed viruses with a series of mutations in ORF63. While prior experiments showed that transfection of cells with a plasmid expressing ORF63 but lacking the putative nuclear localization signal of the protein resulted in increased expression of the protein in the cytoplasm, we found that ORF63 protein remained in the nucleus in cells infected with a VZV ORF63 nuclear localization signal deletion mutant. This mutant was not impaired for growth in cell culture or for latency in rodents. Replacement of five serine or threonine phosphorylation sites in ORF63 with alanines resulted in a virus that was impaired for replication in vitro and for latency. A series of ORF63 carboxy-terminal mutants showed that the last 70 amino acids do not affect replication in vitro or latency in rodents; however, the last 108 amino acids are important for replication and latency. Thus, regions of ORF63 that are important for replication in vitro are also required for efficient establishment of latency. [less ▲]

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See detailAbsence of intercellular adhesion molecule 1 expression in varicella zoster virus-infected keratinocytes during herpes zoster: another immune evasion strategy?
Nikkels, Arjen ULg; Sadzot-Delvaux, Catherine ULg; Pierard, Gérald ULg

in American Journal of Dermatopathology (2004), 26(1), 27-32

Downregulation of major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I, MHC-II, and intercellular adhesion molecule 1 (ICAM-1) expression in infected cell lines allows some viruses to escape host immunity. In ... [more ▼]

Downregulation of major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I, MHC-II, and intercellular adhesion molecule 1 (ICAM-1) expression in infected cell lines allows some viruses to escape host immunity. In skin lesions of varicella zoster virus (VZV), MHC-II transcripts were demonstrated in keratinocytes around vesicles, but not in VZV-infected cells. Whether other immunoevasive mechanisms are present during herpes zoster (HZ) is not yet elucidated. The aim of the study was to disclose the temporal immunohistochemical expression of immune escape mechanisms during HZ. Sequential skin biopsies were performed in 5 HZ patients. VZV IE63, CD1a, CD3, CD4, CD8, CD56, CD68, L1, HLA-DR, HLA-ABC, interleukin (IL)-6, IL-10, interferon gamma (IFNgamma), tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFalpha), and ICAM-1 expressions were assessed on frozen sections using immunohistochemistry. Controls consisted of normal skin, herpes simplex virus (HSV) skin infections, and other distinct bullous skin diseases. HLA-DR and ICAM-1 expressions were not observed in VZV- and HSV-infected keratinocytes, contrasting with their upregulation in the surrounding epidermis and inside nonviral blisters. However, HLA-ABC expressions were not inhibited in VZV-infected keratinocytes. Furthermore, the CD4/CD8 ratio remained unmodified during the infection evolution, and this ratio was variable among patients. Increased IFNgamma, TNFalpha, and IL-6 expressions were present, but IL-10 expression only increased in later stages. In contrast to in vitro MHC-I and MHC-II downregulation, VZV infection is related to MHC-II but not MHC-I expression on infected keratinocytes. The absence of ICAM-1 expression on infected keratinocytes may reduce their antigen presentation capacities to LFA-1 ligand-bearing T cells. This may represent another VZV-associated immune escape mechanism. Increased IFNgamma, TNFalpha, and IL-6 expressions suggest a TH1 profile. [less ▲]

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See detailVaricella-Zoster virus proteins encoded by open reading frames 14 and 67 are both dispensable for the establishment of latency in a rat model.
Grinfeld, Esther; Sadzot-Delvaux, Catherine ULg; Kennedy, Peter G E

in Virology (2004), 323(1), 85-90

A rat model of Varicella-Zoster virus (VZV) provides a system in which to investigate the molecular determinants of viral latency in dorsal root ganglia (DRG). In this study, we determined whether the VZV ... [more ▼]

A rat model of Varicella-Zoster virus (VZV) provides a system in which to investigate the molecular determinants of viral latency in dorsal root ganglia (DRG). In this study, we determined whether the VZV glycoproteins gC and gI, corresponding to VZV open reading frames (ORFs) 14 and 67, respectively, were required for the establishment of latency in this model. A VZV gI deletion mutant (DeltagI) derived from a recombinant Oka (rOka) cosmid and a gC null mutant obtained from a clinical isolate were inoculated into the footpads of 6-week-old rats, and the presence of viral DNA and eight different VZV RNA transcripts corresponding to the three classes of genes was investigated by in situ RT-PCR amplification and in situ hybridization (ISH) in the DRG at 1 week, 1 month, and 18-24 months after infection. VZV DNA and restricted RNA expression was established with both deletion mutants as well as the parental rOka virus. Both VZV DNA and RNA were detected in neurons and non-neuronal cells. The pattern of viral RNA expression detected with both gC and gI mutants was restricted with transcripts for VZV genes 62 and 63 most frequently expressed 18-24 months after infection. Transcripts for VZV genes 18, 28, and 29 were also detected at these time points but at a slightly lower frequency. Transcripts for the late gene 40 were never detected. We conclude that VZV ORFs 14 and 67 are dispensable for the establishment of a latent infection in this model. [less ▲]

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See detailAtypical recurrent varicella in 4 patients with hemopathies.
Nikkels, Arjen ULg; Simonart, Thierry; Kentos, Alain et al

in Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology (2003), 48(3), 442-7

Relapsing varicella may occur in children with HIV infection and more rarely in younger adults. Our aim was to report unusual clinical, histologic, and virologic aspects of 4 elderly patients with ... [more ▼]

Relapsing varicella may occur in children with HIV infection and more rarely in younger adults. Our aim was to report unusual clinical, histologic, and virologic aspects of 4 elderly patients with malignant hemopathies who had an unusual form of recurrent varicella develop. Conventional microscopy, immunohistochemistry, and in situ hybridization were applied to smears and skin biopsy specimens. The patients presented a few dozen, scattered, large, papulovesicular lesions with central crusting. No zoster-associated pain or dermatomal distribution of the lesions was noted. Conventional microscopy revealed vascular changes and epidermal alterations typical for alpha-herpes virus infection. The varicella zoster virus major viral envelope glycoproteins gE and gB, and the immediate-early varicella zoster virus IE63 protein and the corresponding genome sequence for gE were detected on Tzanck smears; they were localized in endothelial cells and keratinocytes on skin biopsy specimens. The varicella zoster virus infection in endothelial cells, the vascular involvement, and the widespread distribution of the lesions suggest that the reported eruptions are vascular rather than neural in origin. These findings invalidate the diagnosis of herpes zoster but strongly support the diagnosis of recurrent varicella in an indolent and yet unreported presentation. Furthermore, these eruptions differ from relapsing varicella in children and young adults by the age of the patients, the paucity of clinical lesions, the larger diameter of the lesions and their peculiar clinical aspect, the significantly longer time interval between primary varicella and the recurrence, the prolonged healing time of the lesions, their mild disease course, and the fact that all the lesions are in the same stage of development. [less ▲]

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See detailVirus Varicelle-Zona
Fillet, A. M.; Sadzot-Delvaux, Catherine ULg; Rentier, Bernard ULg

in Huraux, Jean-Marie; Nicolas, Jean-Claude; Agut, Henri (Eds.) et al Virologie médicale (2003)

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See detailVaricella zoster virus: a herpesvirus not like the others...
Sadzot-Delvaux, Catherine ULg

Scientific conference (2002, October)

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See detailPhosphorylation of varicella-zoster virus IE63 protein by casein kinases influences its cellular localization and gene regulation activity
Bontems, Sébastien ULg; Di Valentin, Emmanuel ULg; Baudoux, Laurence et al

in Journal of Biological Chemistry (2002), 277(23), 21050-21060

During the early phase of varicella-zoster virus (VZV) infection, Immediate Early protein 63 (IE63) is expressed rapidly and abundantly in the nucleus, while during latency, this protein is confined ... [more ▼]

During the early phase of varicella-zoster virus (VZV) infection, Immediate Early protein 63 (IE63) is expressed rapidly and abundantly in the nucleus, while during latency, this protein is confined mostly to the cytoplasm. Because phosphorylation is known to regulate many cellular events, we investigated the importance of this modification on the cellular localization of IE63 and on its regulatory properties. We demonstrate here that cellular casein kinases I and II are implicated in the in vitro and in vivo phosphorylation of IE63. A mutational approach also indicated that phosphorylation of the protein is important for its correct cellular localization in a cell type-dependent fashion. Using an activity test, we demonstrated that IE63 was able to repress the gene expression driven by two VZV promoters and that phosphorylation of the protein was required for its full repressive properties. Finally, we showed that IE63 was capable of exerting its repressive activity in the cytoplasm, as well as in the nucleus, suggesting a regulation at the transcriptional and/or post-transcriptional level. [less ▲]

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See detailThe role of varicella zoster virus immediate-early proteins in latency and their potential use as components of vaccines
Sadzot-Delvaux, Catherine ULg; Rentier, Bernard ULg

in Gershon, A. A.; Calisher, C. H.; Arvin, A. M. (Eds.) Immunity to and Prevention of Herpes Zoster (2001)

Varicella zoster virus immediate-early (IE) proteins are intracellular regulators of viral gene expression. Some of them (IE62 and IE63) are found in large amounts in infected cells but are also ... [more ▼]

Varicella zoster virus immediate-early (IE) proteins are intracellular regulators of viral gene expression. Some of them (IE62 and IE63) are found in large amounts in infected cells but are also components of the virion tegument. Several IE and early genes are transcribed during latency, while late genes are not. Recently, we demonstrated the presence of protein IE 63 in dorsal root ganglia of persistently infected rats as well as in normal human ganglia; other IE proteins have been found since in human ganglia. Cell-mediated immunity (CMI) to IE 62 has been evidenced. We found both humoral immunity and CMI to IE 63 in immune adults. In elderly zoster-free individuals, CMI to IE 63 remained high. The differences in the CMI to IE 63 among young adults, elderly people and immunocompromized patients have to be analyzed according to their status relative to zoster, to determine whether the decrease in CMI, particularly to IE proteins, could be responsible for viral reactivation and for the onset of shingles. Hopefully, the waning of the CMI to VZV IE 63 and perhaps to other IE proteins could become a predictive marker for herpes zoster and reimmunization, not only with the vaccine strain, but also with purified IE proteins could help prevent zoster at old age. [less ▲]

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See detailVaricella-Zoster virus gene expression in latently infected rat dorsal root ganglia.
Kennedy, P. G.; Grinfeld, E.; Bontems, Sébastien ULg et al

in Virology (2001), 289(2), 218-23

Latent infection of human ganglia with Varicella-Zoster virus (VZV) is characterized by a highly restricted pattern of viral gene expression. To enhance understanding of this process we used in situ ... [more ▼]

Latent infection of human ganglia with Varicella-Zoster virus (VZV) is characterized by a highly restricted pattern of viral gene expression. To enhance understanding of this process we used in situ hybridization (ISH) in a rat model of VZV latency to examine expression of RNA corresponding to eight different VZV genes in rat dorsal root ganglia (DRG) at various times after footpad inoculation with wild-type VZV. PCR in situ amplification was also used to determine the cell specificity of latent VZV DNA. It was found that the pattern of viral gene expression at 1 week after infection was different from that observed at the later times of 1 and 18 months after infection. Whereas multiple genes were expressed at 1 week after infection, gene expression was restricted at the later time points when latency had been established. At the later time points after infection the RNA transcripts expressed most frequently were those for VZV genes 21, 62, and 63. Gene 63 was expressed more than any other gene studied. While VZV DNA was detected almost exclusively in 5-10% of neurons, VZV RNA was detected in both neurons and nonneuronal cells at an approximate ratio of 3:1. A newly described monoclonal antibody to VZV gene 63-encoded protein was used to detect this protein in neuronal nuclei and cytoplasm in almost half of the DRG studied. These results demonstrate that (1) this rat model of latency has close similarities in terms of viral gene expression to human VZV latency which makes it a useful tool for studying this process and its experimental modulation and (2) expression of VZV gene 63 appears to be the single most consistent feature of VZV latency. [less ▲]

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See detailCurrent issues : varicella
Stouvenakers, Nadine ULg; Sadzot-Delvaux, Catherine ULg; Rentier, Bernard ULg

in Vaccines : Children and Practice (2001), 4

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