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LXR Alpha Restricts Gammaherpesvirus Reactivation from Latently Infected Peritoneal Cells. J Virol 2019 03 15;93(6)



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Pubmed Central ID





Gammaherpesviruses are ubiquitous viruses that establish lifelong infections. Importantly, these viruses are associated with numerous cancers and lymphoproliferative diseases. While risk factors for developing gammaherpesvirus-driven cancers are poorly understood, it is clear that elevated viral reactivation from latency often precedes oncogenesis. Here, we demonstrate that the liver X receptor alpha isoform (LXRα) restricts gammaherpesvirus reactivation in an anatomic-site-specific manner. We have previously demonstrated that deficiency of both LXR isoforms (α and β) leads to an increase in fatty acid and cholesterol synthesis in primary macrophage cultures, with a corresponding increase in gammaherpesvirus replication. Interestingly, expression of fatty acid synthesis genes was not derepressed in LXRα-deficient hosts, indicating that the antiviral effects of LXRα are independent of lipogenesis. Additionally, the critical host defenses against gammaherpesvirus reactivation, virus-specific CD8+ T cells and interferon (IFN) signaling, remained intact in the absence of LXRα. Remarkably, using a murine gammaherpesvirus 68 (MHV68) reporter virus, we discovered that LXRα expression dictates the cellular tropism of MHV68 in the peritoneal cavity. Specifically, LXRα-/- mice exhibit reduced latency within the peritoneal B cell compartment and elevated latency within F4/80+ cells. Thus, LXRα restricts gammaherpesvirus reactivation through a novel mechanism that is independent of the known CD8+ T cell-based antiviral responses or changes in lipid synthesis and likely involves changes in the tropism of MHV68 in the peritoneal cavity.IMPORTANCE Liver X receptors (LXRs) are nuclear receptors that mediate cholesterol and fatty acid homeostasis. Importantly, as ligand-activated transcription factors, LXRs represent potential targets for the treatment of hypercholesterolemia and atherosclerosis. Here, we demonstrate that LXRα, one of the two LXR isoforms, restricts reactivation of latent gammaherpesvirus from peritoneal cells. As gammaherpesviruses are ubiquitous oncogenic agents, LXRs may represent a targetable host factor for the treatment of poorly controlled gammaherpesvirus infection and associated lymphomagenesis.

Author List

Lange PT, Jondle CN, Darrah EJ, Johnson KE, Tarakanova VL


Vera Tarakanova PhD Associate Professor in the Microbiology and Immunology department at Medical College of Wisconsin

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes
Herpesviridae Infections
Host-Pathogen Interactions
Liver X Receptors
Mice, Inbred C57BL
Peritoneal Cavity
Signal Transduction
Virus Activation
Virus Latency
Virus Replication
jenkins-FCD Prod-482 91ad8a360b6da540234915ea01ff80e38bfdb40a