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De Novo Polycomb Recruitment: Lessons from Latent Herpesviruses

Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Cancer Biology, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22903, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
S.A.D. and A.K.F. contributed equally to this work.
Academic Editor: Italo Tempera
Viruses 2021, 13(8), 1470;
Received: 18 June 2021 / Revised: 22 July 2021 / Accepted: 24 July 2021 / Published: 27 July 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Epigenetics and Viral Infection)
The Human Herpesviruses persist in the form of a latent infection in specialized cell types. During latency, the herpesvirus genomes associate with cellular histone proteins and the viral lytic genes assemble into transcriptionally repressive heterochromatin. Although there is divergence in the nature of heterochromatin on latent herpesvirus genomes, in general, the genomes assemble into forms of heterochromatin that can convert to euchromatin to permit gene expression and therefore reactivation. This reversible form of heterochromatin is known as facultative heterochromatin and is most commonly characterized by polycomb silencing. Polycomb silencing is prevalent on the cellular genome and plays a role in developmentally regulated and imprinted genes, as well as X chromosome inactivation. As herpesviruses initially enter the cell in an un-chromatinized state, they provide an optimal system to study how de novo facultative heterochromatin is targeted to regions of DNA and how it contributes to silencing. Here, we describe how polycomb-mediated silencing potentially assembles onto herpesvirus genomes, synergizing what is known about herpesvirus latency with facultative heterochromatin targeting to the cellular genome. A greater understanding of polycomb silencing of herpesviruses will inform on the mechanism of persistence and reactivation of these pathogenic human viruses and provide clues regarding how de novo facultative heterochromatin forms on the cellular genome. View Full-Text
Keywords: polycomb silencing; virus; herpesvirus; latency polycomb silencing; virus; herpesvirus; latency
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MDPI and ACS Style

Dochnal, S.A.; Francois, A.K.; Cliffe, A.R. De Novo Polycomb Recruitment: Lessons from Latent Herpesviruses. Viruses 2021, 13, 1470.

AMA Style

Dochnal SA, Francois AK, Cliffe AR. De Novo Polycomb Recruitment: Lessons from Latent Herpesviruses. Viruses. 2021; 13(8):1470.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Dochnal, Sara A., Alison K. Francois, and Anna R. Cliffe. 2021. "De Novo Polycomb Recruitment: Lessons from Latent Herpesviruses" Viruses 13, no. 8: 1470.

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