The PHD/LAP-domain protein M153R of myxomavirus is a ubiquitin ligase that induces the rapid internalization and lysosomal destruction of CD4

Mandana Mansouri, Eric Bartee, Kristine Gouveia, Bianca T. Hovey Nerenberg, John Barrett, Laurel Thomas, Gary Thomas, Grant McFadden, Klaus Früh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

116 Scopus citations


The genomes of several poxviruses contain open reading frames with homology to the K3 and K5 genes of Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) and the K3 gene of murine gammaherpesvirus 68, which target major histocompatibility complex class I (MHC-I) as well as costimulatory molecules for proteasomal or lysosomal degradation. The homologous gene product of myxomavirus (MV), M153R, was recently shown to reduce the cell surface expression of MHC-I. In addition, normal MHC-I surface expression was observed in cells infected with MV lacking M153R (J. L. Guerin, J. Gelfi, S. Boullier, M. Delverdier, F. A. Bellanger, S. Bertagnoli, I. Drexler, G. Sutter, and F. Messud-Petit, J. Virol. 76:2912-2923, 2002). Here, we show that M153R also downregulates the T-cell coreceptor CD4 and we study the molecular mechanism by which M153R achieves the downregulation of CD4 and MHC-I. Upon M153R expression, CD4 was rapidly internalized and degraded in lysosomes, whereas deletion of M153R from the genome of MV restored CD4 expression. The downregulation of both CD4 and MHC-I was dependent on the presence of lysine residues in their cytoplasmic tails. Increased ubiquitination of CD4 was observed upon coexpression with M153R in the presence of inhibitors of lysosomal acidification. Surface expression of CD4 was restored upon overexpression of Hrs, a ubiquitin interaction motif-containing protein that sorts ubiquitinated proteins into endosomes. Moreover, the purified PHD/LAP zinc finger of M153R catalyzed the formation of multiubiquitin adducts in vitro. Our data suggest that M153R acts as a membrane-bound ubiquitin ligase that conjugates ubiquitin to the cytoplasmic domain of substrate glycoproteins, with ubiquitin serving as a lysosomal targeting signal. Since a similar mechanism was recently proposed for KSHV K5, it seems that members of the unrelated families of gamma-2 herpesviruses and poxviruses share a common immune evasion mechanism that targets host cell immune receptors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1427-1440
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of virology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Insect Science
  • Virology


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