The effect of brn3a and zhangfei on the nerve growth factor receptor, trkA.
Valderram Linares, Ximena Paola
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Herpes simplex viruses (HSV) establish latent infections in sensory neurons of their host and are maintained in this state by little understood mechanisms that, at least in part, are regulated by signalling through nerve growth factor (NGF) and its receptor tropomyosin related kinase, trkA. Previous studies have demonstrated that Zhangfei is a transcriptional factor that is expressed in differentiated neurons and is thought to influence HSV replication and latency. Zhangfei, like the HSV trans-activator VP16 and Luman, binds the ubiquitous nuclear protein host cell factor (HCF) inhibiting the ability of VP16 and Luman to initiate HSV replication. Recently, Brn3a, another neuronal factor thought to influence HSV latency and reactivation was found to possess an HCF-binding domain and could potentially require HCF for activity. The neuronal POU IV domain protein, Brn3a, among its many regulatory functions has been described as an enhancer of the NGF receptor trkA, during development in mouse. I therefore investigated the possible link between Brn3a, TrkA, NGF signaling, HCF, Zhangfei and HSV-1 latency and reactivation. I hypothesized that Zhangfei would also suppress the ability of Brn3a to activate the expression of TrkA and that this would have an impact on NGF-TrkA signaling and, consequently on HSV-1 reactivation from latency.My first study determined which Brn3a/trkA promoter interactions were important for trkA transcription. I constructed a plasmid that contains 1043 base pairs of genomic sequences that extend from 30 nucleotides upstream of trkA coding region. In contrast to previous data, a short 190 bp region that lies proximal to the trkA initiation codon was sufficient for Brn3a trans-activation in NGF-differentiated PC12, Vero and human medulloblastoma cells. At least two portions of the 190 bp fragment bind to Brn3a. In addition, Brn3a increased endogenous levels of trkA transcripts in PC12 cells and initiated trkA expression in medulloblastoma cells, which normally do not express trkA. The second step was to determine the effects of HCF and Zhangfei association with Brn3a on trkA trans-activation. I found that Brn3a required HCF for activating the trkA promoter and that Zhangfei has a suppressive effect over Brn3a-trkA activation in non-neuronal cells. In sympathetic neuron-like NGF-treated PC12 cells, Zhangfei did not suppress the ability of Brn3a to activate the TrkA promoter, however, Zhangfei was able capable of inducing the expression of TrkA in the absence of Brn3a. Both Brn3a and Zhangfei induced the expression of endogenous trkA in PC12 cells.Since Vero and PC12 cells are not from human origin I wanted to examine the ability of Zhangfei to induce trkA transcription in medulloblastoma cells, that because of its tumor nature do not express trkA. TrkA transfections in these cells have shown to drive them to cell arrest or apoptosis. Since Zhangfei is not express in medulloblastoma tumors I then used ONS-76 medulloblastoma cells as a model to determine Zhangfei’s envolvement in the NGF-trkA signaling pathway. I show herein that in ONS-76 medulloblastoma cells resveratrol, an inducer of apoptosis and differentiation, increased the expression of Zhangfei and trkA as well as Early Growth Response Gene 1 (Egr1), a gene normally activated by NGF-trkA signalling. ONS-76 cells stop growing soon after treatment with resveratrol and a portion of the cell undergo apoptosis. While the induction of Zhangfei in resveratrol-treated cells was modest albeit consistent, the infection of actively growing medulloblastoma cells with an adenovirus vector expressing Zhangfei mimicked the effects of resveratrol. Zhangfei activated the expression of trkA and Egr1 and caused these cells to display markers of apoptosis. The phosphorylation of Erk1, an intermediate kinase in the NGF-trkA signaling critical for differentiation, was observed in Zhangfei infected cells, supporting the hypothesis that Zhangfei is a mediator of trkA-NGF signaling in theses cells leading either to differentiation or apoptosis. Binding of HCF by Zhangfei did not appear to be required for this effect as a mutant of Zhangfei incapable of binding HCF was also able to induce the expression of trkA and Egr1. In in vivo and in vitro models of HSV-1 latency, the virus reactivates when NGF supply to the neuron is interrupted. Based on the above evidence Zhangfei, in HSV-1 latently infected neurons, would have the ability to prolong a state of latency by inducing trkA expression allowing the activation of NGF-trkA signaling pathway. Since NGF is produced by many cell types it is possible that reactivation is triggered not by a decrease in NGF but by a down-regulation of TrkA expression.Therefore, if Zhangfei expression is suppress the trkA signaling could be interrupted or shifted towards apoptosis signaling, this would allow neuronal HCF-binding proteins like Luman, which can activate HSV IE expression, to initiate HSV IE expression and subsequently viral replication.
DegreeDoctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
CommitteeVerge, Valerie M. K.; Polley, Lydden; Juurlink, Bernhard H. J.; Haines, Deborah; Dunn, Robert
host cell factor
herpes simplex virus
nerve growth factor