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Murine gammaherpesvirus M2 protein induction of IRF4 via the NFAT pathway leads to IL-10 expression in B cells


, : Murine gammaherpesvirus M2 protein induction of IRF4 via the NFAT pathway leads to IL-10 expression in B cells. Plos Pathogens 10(1): E1003858-E1003858

Reactivation of the gammaherpesviruses Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) and murine gammaherpesvirus 68 (MHV68) from latently infected B cells has been linked to plasma cell differentiation. We have previously shown that the MHV68 M2 protein is important for virus reactivation from B cells and, when expressed alone in primary murine B cells, can drive B cell differentiation towards a pre-plasma cell phenotype. In addition, expression of M2 in primary murine B cells leads to secretion of high levels of IL-10 along with enhanced proliferation and survival. Furthermore, the absence of M2 in vivo leads to a defect in the appearance of MHV68 infected plasma cells in the spleen at the peak of MHV68 latency. Here, employing an inducible B cell expression system, we have determined that M2 activates the NFAT pathway in a Src kinase-dependent manner--leading to induction of the plasma cell-associated transcription factor, Interferon Regulatory Factor-4 (IRF4). Furthermore, we show that expression of IRF4 alone in a B cell line up-regulates IL-10 expression in culture supernatants, revealing a novel role for IRF4 in B cell induced IL-10. Consistent with the latter observation, we show that IRF4 can regulate the IL-10 promoter in B cells. In primary murine B cells, addition of cyclosporine (CsA) resulted in a significant decrease in M2-induced IL-10 levels as well as IRF4 expression, emphasizing the importance of the NFAT pathway in M2- -mediated induction of IL-10. Together, these studies argue in favor of a model wherein M2 activation of the NFAT pathway initiates events leading to increased levels of IRF4--a key player in plasma cell differentiation--which in turn triggers IL-10 expression. In the context of previous findings, the data presented here provides insights into how M2 facilitates plasma cell differentiation and subsequent virus reactivation.

US$19.90

PMID: 24391506

DOI: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1003858


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