Inturi R, Mun K, Singethan K, Schreiner S, Punga T
J. Virol. 92 (3) - [2018-02-01; online 2018-01-17]
Human adenoviruses (HAdVs) are common human pathogens encoding a highly abundant histone-like core protein, VII, which is involved in nuclear delivery and protection of viral DNA as well as in sequestering immune danger signals in infected cells. The molecular details of how protein VII acts as a multifunctional protein have remained to a large extent enigmatic. Here we report the identification of several cellular proteins interacting with the precursor pVII protein. We show that the cellular E3 ubiquitin ligase MKRN1 is a novel precursor pVII-interacting protein in HAdV-C5-infected cells. Surprisingly, the endogenous MKRN1 protein underwent proteasomal degradation during the late phase of HAdV-C5 infection in various human cell lines. MKRN1 protein degradation occurred independently of the HAdV E1B55K and E4orf6 proteins. We provide experimental evidence that the precursor pVII protein binding enhances MKRN1 self-ubiquitination, whereas the processed mature VII protein is deficient in this function. Based on these data, we propose that the pVII protein binding promotes MKRN1 self-ubiquitination, followed by proteasomal degradation of the MKRN1 protein, in HAdV-C5-infected cells. In addition, we show that measles virus and vesicular stomatitis virus infections reduce the MKRN1 protein accumulation in the recipient cells. Taken together, our results expand the functional repertoire of the HAdV-C5 precursor pVII protein in lytic virus infection and highlight MKRN1 as a potential common target during different virus infections. IMPORTANCE Human adenoviruses (HAdVs) are common pathogens causing a wide range of diseases. To achieve pathogenicity, HAdVs have to counteract a variety of host cell antiviral defense systems, which would otherwise hamper virus replication. In this study, we show that the HAdV-C5 histone-like core protein pVII binds to and promotes self-ubiquitination of a cellular E3 ubiquitin ligase named MKRN1. This mutual interaction between the pVII and MKRN1 proteins may prime MKRN1 for proteasomal degradation, because the MKRN1 protein is efficiently degraded during the late phase of HAdV-C5 infection. Since MKRN1 protein accumulation is also reduced in measles virus- and vesicular stomatitis virus-infected cells, our results signify the general strategy of viruses to target MKRN1.