Lying low-chromatin insulation in persistent DNA virus infection

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Persistent virus infections are achieved when the intricate balance of virus replication, host-cell division and successful immune evasion is met. The genomes of persistent DNA viruses are either maintained as extrachromosomal episomes or can integrate into the host genome. Common to both these strategies of persistence is the chromatinisation of viral DNA by cellular histones which, like host DNA, are subject to epigenetic modification. Epigenetic repression of viral genes required for lytic replication occurs, while genes required for latent or persistent infection are maintained in an active chromatin state. Viruses utilise host-cell chromatin insulators, which function to maintain epigenetic boundaries and enforce this strict transcriptional programme. Here, we review insulator protein function in virus transcription control, focussing on CCCTC-binding factor (CTCF) and cofactors. We describe CTCF-dependent activities in virus transcription regulation through epigenetic and promoter-enhancer insulation, three-dimensional chromatin looping and manipulation of transcript splicing.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101257
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent Opinion in Virology
Publication statusPublished - 20 Aug 2022

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2022 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


  • Chromatin
  • DNA Virus Infections/genetics
  • DNA, Viral/genetics
  • Epigenesis, Genetic
  • Humans
  • Virus Latency/genetics
  • Virus Replication


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