The interactive complex between cytomegalovirus kinase vCDK/pUL97 and host factors CDK7-cyclin H determines individual patterns of transcription in infected cells


  • M. Schütz
  • A. Cordsmeier
  • C. Wangen
  • A.H.C. Horn
  • E. Wyler
  • A. Ensser
  • H. Sticht
  • M. Marschall


  • International Journal of Molecular Sciences


  • Int J Mol Sci 24 (24): 17421


  • The infection of human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is strongly determined by the host-cell interaction in a way that the efficiency of HCMV lytic replication is dependent on the regulatory interplay between viral and cellular proteins. In particular, the activities of protein kinases, such as cyclin-dependent kinases (CDKs) and the viral CDK ortholog (vCDK/pUL97), play an important role in both viral reproduction and virus-host interaction. Very recently, we reported on the complexes formed between vCDK/pUL97, human cyclin H, and CDK7. Major hallmarks of this interplay are the interaction between cyclin H and vCDK/pUL97, which is consistently detectable across various conditions and host cell types of infection, the decrease or increase in pUL97 kinase activity resulting from cyclin H knock-down or elevated levels, respectively, and significant trans-stimulation of human CDK7 activity by pUL97 in vitro. Due to the fact that even a ternary complex of vCDK/pUL97-cyclin H-CDK7 can be detected by coimmunoprecipitation and visualized by bioinformatic structural modeling, we postulated a putative impact of the respective kinase activities on the patterns of transcription in HCMV-infected cells. Here, we undertook a first vCDK/pUL97-specific transcriptomic analysis, which combined conditions of fully lytic HCMV replication with those under specific vCDK/pUL97 or CDK7 drug-mediated inhibition or transient cyclin H knockout. The novel results were further strengthened using bioinformatic modeling of the involved multi-protein complexes. Our data underline the importance of these kinase activities for the C-terminal domain (CTD) phosphorylation-driven activation of host RNA polymerase in HCMV-infected cells. The impact of the individual experimental conditions on differentially expressed gene profiles is described in detail and discussed.