The open reading frame 45 (ORF45) of the Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) is an immediate-early phosphorylated tegument protein critical for viral escape from host immune surveillance. Its expression is upregulated by the viral replication and transcription activator (RTA), a key protein that controls the switch from latency to lytic replication. We report here that ORF45 expression was not only upregulated by RTA, but ORF45 could also be degraded by RTA in a proteasome-dependent manner. The ORF45 was activated by RTA via activation of the ORF45 promoter, and the promoter region from nt 69 271 to nt 69 026 was involved. In chronic KSHV infected TRE-BCBL-1 RTA cells, the endogenous ORF45 protein increased dramatically after the induction of RTA expression, but then decreased rapidly after 8 h postinduction. Our study suggests that RTA might control the kinetics of viral replication through fine-tuning of the level of ORF45 and other viral/host proteins.
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