Autophagy, an important degradation system involved in maintaining cellular homeostasis, serves also to eliminate pathogens and process their fragments for presentation to the immune system. Several viruses have been shown to interact with the host autophagic machinery to suppress or make use of this cellular catabolic pathway to enhance their survival and replication. Epstein Barr virus (EBV) is a γ-herpes virus associated with a number of malignancies of epithelial and lymphoid origin in which establishes a predominantly latent infection. EBV lytic cycle characterized by the sequential expression of immediate early (IE), early and late antigens results in the production of infectious particles which allow the virus to spread. In this study we analyzed the relationship between EBV and autophagy after inducing the virus productive cycle in Burkitt’s lymphoma (BL) cells. By monitoring autophagy markers and EBV lytic genes expression, we demonstrate that autophagy is enhanced in the early phases of EBV lytic activation but decreases thereafter concomitantly with increased levels of EBV lytic proteins. In a cell line defective for late antigens expression, we found an inverse correlation between EBV early antigens expression and autophagosomes formation indicating that early after activation, the virus is able to suppress autophagy.We report that inhibition of autophagy by Bafilomycin A1 or shRNA knockdown of beclin1 gene, enhance EBV lytic genes expression as well as intracellular viral DNA and viral progeny yield. Taken together, these findings indicate that viral replication induces an autophagic response which can inhibit the further expression of EBV early lytic products. Moreover, our findings open the possibility to utilize pharmacological modulators of autophagy to control EBV infection and treat EBV-related lymphomas.
Inhibition of autophagy in EBV-positive Burkitt’s lymphoma cells enhances EBV lytic genes expression and replication / DE LEO, Alessandra; Francesca, Colavita; Fabiola, Ciccosanti; Fimia, Gian Maria; Paul, Lieberman; Mattia, Elena. - ELETTRONICO. - (2015), p. 25. (Intervento presentato al convegno American Association for Cancer research Annual MeetingACR Annual Meeting tenutosi a Philadelphia nel 18-22 Aprile 2015).