The replication initiator protein of a geminivirus interacts with host monoubiquitination machinery and stimulates transcription of the viral genome
by Nirbhay Kumar Kushwaha, Mansi Bhardwaj, Supriya ChakrabortyGeminiviruses constitute a group of plant viruses, with a ssDNA genome, whose replication in the nucleus of an infected cell requires the function of geminivirus-encoded replication initiator protein (Rep). Our results suggest that monoubiquitinated histone 2B (H2B-ub) promotes tri-methylation of histone 3 at lysine 4 (H3-K4me3) on the promoter of chilli leaf curl virus. We isolated homologues of two major components of the monoubiquitination machinery: UBIQUITIN-CONJUGATING ENZYME2 (NbUBC2) and HISTONE MONOUBIQUITINATION1 (NbHUB1) from N. benthamiana. ChiLCV failed to cause disease in NbUBC2-, and NbHUB1-silenced plants, at the same time, H2B-ub and H3-K4me3 modifications were decreased, and the occupancy of RNA polymerase II on the viral promoter was reduced as well. In further investigations, Rep protein of ChiLCV was found to re-localize NbUBC2 from the cytoplasm to the nucleoplasm, like NbHUB1, the cognate partner of NbUBC2. Rep was observed to interact and co-localize with NbHUB1 and NbUBC2 in the nuclei of the infected cells. In summary, the current study reveals that the ChiLCV Rep protein binds the viral genome and interacts with NbUBC2 and NbHUB1 for the monoubiquitination of histone 2B that subsequently promotes trimethylation of histone 3 at lysine 4 on ChiLCV mini-chromosomes and enhances transcription of the viral genes.
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