by Shengwei Zhang, Yonggang Pei, Fengchao Lang, Kunfeng Sun, Rajnish Kumar Singh, Zachary L. Lamplugh, Abhik Saha, Erle S. Robertson
EBV latent antigen 3C (EBNA3C) is essential for EBV-induced primary B-cell transformation. Infection by EBV induces hypermethylation of a number of tumor suppressor genes, which contributes to the development of human cancers. The Ras association domain family isoform 1A (RASSF1A) is a cellular tumor suppressor, which regulates a broad range of cellular functions, including apoptosis, cell-cycle arrest, mitotic arrest, and migration. However, the expression of RASSF1A is lost in many human cancers by epigenetic silencing. In the present study, we showed that EBNA3C promoted B-cell transformation by specifically suppressing the expression of RASSF1A. EBNA3C directly interacted with RASSF1A and induced RASSF1A degradation via the ubiquitin-proteasome-dependent pathway. SCFSkp2, an E3-ubiquitin ligase, was recruited by EBNA3C to enhance RASSF1A degradation. Moreover, EBNA3C decreased the transcriptional activity of RASSF1A promoter by enhancing its methylation through EBNA3C-mediated modulation of DNMTs expression. EBNA3C also inhibited RASSF1A-mediated cell apoptosis, disrupted RASSF1A-mediated microtubule and chromosomal stability, and promoted cell proliferation by upregulating Cyclin D1 and Cyclin E expression. Our data provides new details, which sheds light on additional mechanisms by which EBNA3C can induce B-cell transformation. This will also facilitate the development of novel therapeutic approaches through targeting of the RASSF1A pathway.
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