Disruption of the gatekeeper p53 tumor suppressor is involved in various virus-associated tumorigeneses, with aberrant ubiquitination as the major cause of p53 abnormalities in virus-associated tumors. Of note, wild-type p53 is accumulated in Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-associated tumors, especially in nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC). We have previously identified that p53 is accumulated and phosphorylated by EBV oncoprotein latent membrane protein 1 (LMP1) in NPC. Here, we further found that LMP1 promoted p53 accumulation via two distinct ubiquitin modifications. LMP1 promoted p53 stability and accumulation by suppressing K48-linked ubiquitination of p53 mediated by E3 ligase MDM2, which is associated with its phosphorylation at Ser20, while increasing the levels of total cellular ubiquitinated p53. LMP1 also induced K63-linked ubiquitination of p53 by interacting with tumor necrosis factor receptor-associated factor 2 (TRAF2), thus contributing to p53 accumulation. Furthermore, LMP1 rescued tumor cell apoptosis and cell cycle arrest mediated by K63-linked ubiquitination of p53. Collectively, these results demonstrate aberrant ubiquitin modifications of p53 and its biological functions by viral protein LMP1, which has broad implications to the pathogenesis of multiple EBVassociated tumors.
- Epstein-Barr virus