Research Article: Promyelocytic leukemia (PML) nuclear bodies (NBs) induce latent/quiescent HSV-1 genomes chromatinization through a PML NB/Histone H3.3/H3.3 Chaperone Axis

Date Published: September 20, 2018

Publisher: Public Library of Science

Author(s): Camille Cohen, Armelle Corpet, Simon Roubille, Mohamed Ali Maroui, Nolwenn Poccardi, Antoine Rousseau, Constance Kleijwegt, Olivier Binda, Pascale Texier, Nancy Sawtell, Marc Labetoulle, Patrick Lomonte, Robert F. Kalejta.


Herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) latency establishment is tightly controlled by promyelocytic leukemia (PML) nuclear bodies (NBs) (or ND10), although their exact contribution is still elusive. A hallmark of HSV-1 latency is the interaction between latent viral genomes and PML NBs, leading to the formation of viral DNA-containing PML NBs (vDCP NBs), and the complete silencing of HSV-1. Using a replication-defective HSV-1-infected human primary fibroblast model reproducing the formation of vDCP NBs, combined with an immuno-FISH approach developed to detect latent/quiescent HSV-1, we show that vDCP NBs contain both histone H3.3 and its chaperone complexes, i.e., DAXX/ATRX and HIRA complex (HIRA, UBN1, CABIN1, and ASF1a). HIRA also co-localizes with vDCP NBs present in trigeminal ganglia (TG) neurons from HSV-1-infected wild type mice. ChIP and Re-ChIP show that vDCP NBs-associated latent/quiescent viral genomes are chromatinized almost exclusively with H3.3 modified on its lysine (K) 9 by trimethylation, consistent with an interaction of the H3.3 chaperones with multiple viral loci and with the transcriptional silencing of HSV-1. Only simultaneous inactivation of both H3.3 chaperone complexes has a significant impact on the deposition of H3.3 on viral genomes, suggesting a compensation mechanism. In contrast, the sole depletion of PML significantly impacts the chromatinization of the latent/quiescent viral genomes with H3.3 without any overall replacement with H3.1. vDCP NBs-associated HSV-1 genomes are not definitively silenced since the destabilization of vDCP NBs by ICP0, which is essential for HSV-1 reactivation in vivo, allows the recovery of a transcriptional lytic program and the replication of viral genomes. Consequently, the present study demonstrates a specific chromatin regulation of vDCP NBs-associated latent/quiescent HSV-1 through an H3.3-dependent HSV-1 chromatinization involving the two H3.3 chaperones DAXX/ATRX and HIRA complexes. Additionally, the study reveals that PML NBs are major actors in latent/quiescent HSV-1 H3.3 chromatinization through a PML NB/histone H3.3/H3.3 chaperone axis.

Partial Text

Herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) is a human pathogen with neurotropic tropism and the causal agent of cold sores and more severe CNS pathologies such as encephalitis [1]. After the initial infection, HSV-1 remains latent in neuronal ganglia with the main site of latency being the trigeminal (or Gasserian) ganglion (TG). Two transcriptional programs are associated with HSV-1 infection, the lytic cycle and latency, which differ by the number and degree of viral gene transcription. The lytic cycle results from the sequential transcription of all viral genes (approximately 80) and leads to the production of viral progeny. The latency phase, occurring exclusively in neurons, is limited to the abundant expression of the so-called Latency Associated Transcripts (LATs), although physiologically a transitory expression of a limited number of lytic genes is not excluded, making latency a dynamic process[2–4].

The HSV-1 genome enters the nucleus of infected neurons, which support HSV-1 latency as a naked/non-nucleosomal DNA. Many studies have described the acquisition of chromatin marks on the viral genome concomitantly to the establishment, and during the whole process, of latency. Paradoxically, although it is undisputable that these chromatin marks will predominantly be associated with latency and reactivation, few data are available for the initiation of the chromatinization of the incoming viral genome. Here, we demonstrate the essential contribution of PML NBs in the process of chromatinization of incoming HSV-1 genomes meant to remain in a latent/quiescent state. We showed that PML NBs are essential for the association of the histone variant H3.3 with the latent/quiescent HSV-1.