The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) chaperone BiP (immunoglobulin binding protein) plays a major role in the control of the unfolded protein response. We have previously shown that BiP levels are dramatically increased during human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) infection, where BiP performs unique roles in viral assembly and egress. We show that BiP mRNA levels increase during infection due to activation of the BiP promoter by the major immediate-early (MIE) proteins. The BiP promoter, like other ER stress-activated promoters, contains endoplasmic reticulum stress elements (ERSEs), which are activated by unfolded protein response (UPR)-induced transcription factors. However, these elements are not needed for MIE protein-mediated transcriptional activation; thus, a virus-specific transcriptional activation mechanism is used. Transcriptional activation results in only a 3- to 4-fold increase in BiP mRNA, suggesting that additional mechanisms for BiP production are utilized. The BiP mRNA contains an internal ribosome entry site (IRES) which increases the level of BiP mRNA translation. We show that utilization of the BiP IRES is dramatically increased in HCMV-infected cells. Utilization of the BiP IRES can be activated by the La autoantigen, also called Sjögren's syndrome antigen B (SSB). We show that SSB/La levels are significantly increased during HCMV infection, and SSB/La depletion causes the loss of BiP IRES utilization and lowers endogenous BiP levels in infected cells. Our data show that BiP levels increase in HCMV-infected cells through the combination of increased BiP gene transcription mediated by the MIE proteins and increased BiP mRNA translation due to SSB/La-induced utilization of the BiP IRES.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Insect Science