The mechanisms by which mammalian cells recognize and epigenetically restrict viral DNA are not well defined. We used herpes simplex virus with bioorthogonally labeled genomes to detect host factors recruited to viral DNA shortly after its nuclear entry and found that the cellular IFI16, PML, and ATRX proteins colocalized with viral DNA by 15 min post infection. HSV-1 infection of ATRX-depleted fibroblasts resulted in elevated viral mRNA and accelerated viral DNA accumulation. Despite the early association of ATRX with vDNA, we found that initial viral heterochromatin formation is ATRX-independent. However, viral heterochromatin stability required ATRX from 4-8 h post infection. Inhibition of transcription blocked viral chromatin loss in ATRX-knockout cells; thus, ATRX is uniquely required for heterochromatin maintenance during chromatin stress. These results argue that the initial formation and the subsequent maintenance of viral heterochromatin are separable mechanisms, a concept that likely extrapolates to host cell chromatin and viral latency.
- David M Knipe
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Stephen P Goff, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Columbia University, United States
© 2018, Cabral et al.
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