The Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) BamHI-A rightward transcripts (BARTs) are expressed in all EBV-associated tumors as well as in latently infected B cells in vivo and cultured B-cell lines. One of the BART family transcripts contains an open reading frame, RPMS1, that encodes a nuclear protein termed RPMS. Reverse transcription-PCR analysis revealed that BART transcripts with the splicing pattern that generates the RPMS1 open reading frame are commonly expressed in EBV-positive lymphoblastoid cell lines and are also detected in Hodgkin's disease tissues. Experiments undertaken to determine the function of RPMS revealed that RPMS interacts with both CBF1 and components of the CBF1-associated corepressor complex. RPMS interaction with CBF1 was demonstrated in a glutathione S-transferase (GST) affinity assay and by the ability of RPMS to alter the intracellular localization of a mutant CBF1. A Gal4-RPMS fusion protein mediated transcriptional repression, suggesting an additional interaction between RPMS and corepressor proteins. GST affinity assays revealed interaction between RPMS and the corepressor Sin3A and CIR. The RPMS-CIR interaction was further substantiated in mammalian two-hybrid, coimmunoprecipitation, and colocalization experiments. RPMS has been shown to interfere with NotchIC and EBNA2 activation of CBF1-containing promoters in reporter assays. Consistent with this function, immunofluorescence assays performed on cotransfected cells showed that there was colocalization of RPMS with NotchIC and with EBNA2 in intranuclear punctate speckles. The effect of RPMS on NotchIC function was further examined in a muscle cell differentiation assay where RPMS was found to partially reverse NotchIC-mediated inhibition of differentiation. The mechanism of RPMS action was examined in cotransfection and mammalian two-hybrid assays. The results revealed that RPMS blocked relief of CBF1-mediated repression and interfered with SKIP-CIR interactions. We conclude that RPMS acts as a negative regulator of EBNA2 and Notch activity through its interactions with the CBF1-associated corepressor complex
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