Kaposi’s sarcoma associated herpesvirus (KSHV), like other human herpes viruses, establishes a biphasic life cycle referred to as dormant or latent, and productive or lytic phases. The latent phase is characterized by the persistence of viral episomes in a highly ordered chromatin structure and with the expression of a limited number of viral genes. Latency Associated Nuclear Antigen (LANA) is among the most abundantly expressed proteins during latency and is required for various nuclear functions including the recruitment of cellular machineries for viral DNA replication and segregation of the replicated genomes to daughter cells. LANA achieves these functions by recruiting cellular proteins including replication factors, chromatin modifying enzymes and cellular mitotic apparatus assembly. LANA directly binds to the terminal repeat region of the viral genome and associates with nucleosomal proteins to tether to the host chromosome. Binding of LANA to TR recruits the replication machinery, thereby initiating DNA replication within the TR. However, other regions of the viral genome can also initiate replication as determined by Single Molecule Analysis of the Replicated DNA (SMARD) approach. Recent, next generation sequence analysis of the viral transcriptome shows the expression of additional genes during latent phase. Here, we discuss the newly annotated latent genes and the role of major latent proteins in KSHV biology.
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