Promoter switching allows simultaneous transcription of LANA and K14/vGPCR of Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus.
Immunoglobulin J Recombination Signal Sequence-Binding Protein
Gene Expression Regulation, Viral
Herpesvirus 8, Human
Promoter Regions, Genetic
Latent transcription of the latency-associated nuclear antigen (LANA/ORF73) of Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus is driven by the LANAp-c. Complexity arises during lytic reactivation, however, as the bicistronic K14/vGPCR transcript initiates 32 bp downstream of LANAp-c in the opposite orientation. We identify an Rta/ORF50-inducible LANA promoter (LANAp-i) that is distinct from the LANAp-c. LANAp-c is unaffected by Rta/ORF50. Utilization of the second, downstream LANAp-i explains how LANA and K14/vGPCR are simultaneously transcribed during de novo infection or lytic reactivation. Transactivation of LANAp-i and K14/vGPCRp requires the C-terminal activation domain of Rta/ORF50 and is mediated by DNA-binding-dependent and -independent Rta/ORF50 mechanisms. Transcriptional profiling following viral reactivation support promoter reporter phenotypes. In sum, cis-elements within the LANAp were selected to ensure faithful expression of LANA and other genes regulated by LANAp during all stages of the KSHV lifecycle despite potential interference from K14/vGPCRp activity.