TRAF1 Coordinates Polyubiquitin Signaling to Enhance Epstein-Barr Virus LMP1-Mediated Growth and Survival Pathway Activation.

Research paper by Hannah H Greenfeld, Kaoru K Takasaki, Michael J MJ Walsh, Ina I Ersing, Katharina K Bernhardt, Yijie Y Ma, Bishi B Fu, Camille W CW Ashbaugh, Jackson J Cabo, Sarah B SB Mollo, Hufeng H Zhou, Shitao S Li, Benjamin E BE Gewurz

Indexed on: 23 May '15Published on: 23 May '15Published in: PLoS pathogens


The Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) encoded oncoprotein Latent Membrane Protein 1 (LMP1) signals through two C-terminal tail domains to drive cell growth, survival and transformation. The LMP1 membrane-proximal TES1/CTAR1 domain recruits TRAFs to activate MAP kinase, non-canonical and canonical NF-kB pathways, and is critical for EBV-mediated B-cell transformation. TRAF1 is amongst the most highly TES1-induced target genes and is abundantly expressed in EBV-associated lymphoproliferative disorders. We found that TRAF1 expression enhanced LMP1 TES1 domain-mediated activation of the p38, JNK, ERK and canonical NF-kB pathways, but not non-canonical NF-kB pathway activity. To gain insights into how TRAF1 amplifies LMP1 TES1 MAP kinase and canonical NF-kB pathways, we performed proteomic analysis of TRAF1 complexes immuno-purified from cells uninduced or induced for LMP1 TES1 signaling. Unexpectedly, we found that LMP1 TES1 domain signaling induced an association between TRAF1 and the linear ubiquitin chain assembly complex (LUBAC), and stimulated linear (M1)-linked polyubiquitin chain attachment to TRAF1 complexes. LMP1 or TRAF1 complexes isolated from EBV-transformed lymphoblastoid B cell lines (LCLs) were highly modified by M1-linked polyubiqutin chains. The M1-ubiquitin binding proteins IKK-gamma/NEMO, A20 and ABIN1 each associate with TRAF1 in cells that express LMP1. TRAF2, but not the cIAP1 or cIAP2 ubiquitin ligases, plays a key role in LUBAC recruitment and M1-chain attachment to TRAF1 complexes, implicating the TRAF1:TRAF2 heterotrimer in LMP1 TES1-dependent LUBAC activation. Depletion of either TRAF1, or the LUBAC ubiquitin E3 ligase subunit HOIP, markedly impaired LCL growth. Likewise, LMP1 or TRAF1 complexes purified from LCLs were decorated by lysine 63 (K63)-linked polyubiqutin chains. LMP1 TES1 signaling induced K63-polyubiquitin chain attachment to TRAF1 complexes, and TRAF2 was identified as K63-Ub chain target. Co-localization of M1- and K63-linked polyubiquitin chains on LMP1 complexes may facilitate downstream canonical NF-kB pathway activation. Our results highlight LUBAC as a novel potential therapeutic target in EBV-associated lymphoproliferative disorders.