Characterization of new RNA polymerase III and RNA polymerase II transcriptional promoters in the Bovine Leukemia Virus genome

Publication type: 
Benoit Van Driessche et al.

Van Driessche, B. et al. (2016) Characterization of new RNA polymerase III and RNA polymerase II transcriptional promoters in the Bovine Leukemia Virus genome. Sci. Rep. 6, 31125.


Bovine leukemia virus latency is a viral strategy used to escape from the host immune system and contribute to tumor development. However, a highly expressed BLV micro-RNA cluster has been reported, suggesting that the BLV silencing is not complete. Here, we demonstrate the in vivo recruitment of RNA polymerase III to the BLV miRNA cluster both in BLV-latently infected cell lines and in ovine BLV-infected primary cells, through a canonical type 2 RNAPIII promoter. Moreover, by RPC6-knockdown, we showed a direct functional link between RNAPIII transcription and BLV miRNAs expression. Furthermore, both the tumor- and the quiescent-related isoforms of RPC7 subunits were recruited to the miRNA cluster. We showed that the BLV miRNA cluster was enriched in positive epigenetic marks. Interestingly, we demonstrated the in vivo recruitment of RNAPII at the 3′LTR/host genomic junction, associated with positive epigenetic marks. Functionally, we showed that the BLV LTR exhibited a strong antisense promoter activity and identified cis-acting elements of an RNAPIIdependent promoter. Finally, we provided evidence for an in vivo collision between RNAPIII and RNAPII convergent transcriptions. Our results provide new insights into alternative ways used by BLV to counteract silencing of the viral 5′LTR promoter.

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Scientific Reports