Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 14963153
J. Virol. 2004 Mar;78(5):2510-6
NF-kappaB is one of the most important elements that coordinate stress-induced, immune, and inflammatory responses. Myxoma virus, a member of the Poxviridae family responsible for rabbit myxomatosis, codes for several factors that help its survival in the host. In this study, we focused on the product of the M150R gene. We show that the protein has nine ankyrin repeats (ANKs), with the eighth having a close similarity with the nuclear localization signal-containing ANK of I-kappaBalpha, which regulates NF-kappaB activity by sequestering it in the cytosol. Because the viral protein is targeted to the nucleus, it was named MNF, for myxoma nuclear factor. This localization was lost when the eighth ANK was removed. In tumor necrosis factor alpha-treated cells, MNF and NF-kappaB colocalized as dotted spots in the nucleus. In vivo experiments with a knockout virus showed that MNF is a critical virulence factor, with its deletion generating an almost apathogenic virus. Detailed histological examinations revealed an increase in the inflammatory process in the absence of MNF, consistent with the interference of MNF with the NF-kappaB-induced proinflammatory pathway. Because MNF has homologs in other poxviruses, such as vaccinia, cowpox, and variola viruses, this protein is probably part of a key mechanism that contributes to the immunogenic and pathogenic properties of these viruses.