Reactivation of latent Human Cytomegalovirus (HCMV) in CD34+ hematopoietic progenitor cells (HPCs) is closely linked to hematopoiesis. Viral latency requires maintenance of the progenitor cell quiescence, while reactivation initiates following mobilization of HPCs to the periphery and differentiation into CD14+ macrophages. Early growth response gene 1 (EGR-1) is a transcription factor activated by Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) signaling that is essential for the maintenance of CD34+ HPC self-renewal in the bone marrow niche. Down-regulation of EGR-1 results in mobilization and differentiation of CD34+ HPC from the bone marrow to the periphery. In the current study we demonstrate that the transcription factor EGR-1 is directly targeted for down-regulation by HCMV miR-US22 that results in decreased proliferation of CD34+ HPCs and a decrease in total hematopoietic colony formation. We also show that an HCMV miR-US22 mutant fails to reactivate in CD34+ HPCs, indicating that expression of EGR-1 inhibits viral reactivation. Since EGR-1 promotes CD34+ HPC self-renewal in the bone marrow niche, HCMV miR-US22 down-regulation of EGR-1 is a necessary step to block HPC self-renewal and proliferation to induce a cellular differentiation pathway necessary to promote reactivation of virus.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology