Expression of the vault RNA protects cells from undergoing apoptosis

Nat Commun. 2015 May 8:6:7030. doi: 10.1038/ncomms8030.


Non-protein-coding RNAs are a functionally versatile class of transcripts exerting their biological roles on the RNA level. Recently, we demonstrated that the vault complex-associated RNAs (vtRNAs) are significantly upregulated in Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-infected human B cells. Very little is known about the function(s) of the vtRNAs or the vault complex. Here, we individually express latent EBV-encoded proteins in B cells and identify the latent membrane protein 1 (LMP1) as trigger for vtRNA upregulation. Ectopic expression of vtRNA1-1, but not of the other vtRNA paralogues, results in an improved viral establishment and reduced apoptosis, a function located in the central domain of vtRNA1-1. Knockdown of the major vault protein has no effect on these phenotypes revealing that vtRNA1-1 and not the vault complex contributes to general cell death resistance. This study describes a NF-κB-mediated role of the non-coding vtRNA1-1 in inhibiting both the extrinsic and intrinsic apoptotic pathways.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Apoptosis*
  • Base Sequence
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cytoprotection*
  • HEK293 Cells
  • Humans
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutation / genetics
  • Nucleic Acid Conformation
  • RNA / chemistry
  • RNA / genetics
  • RNA / metabolism*
  • Ribonucleoproteins / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction
  • Viral Matrix Proteins / metabolism
  • Virus Latency


  • EBV-associated membrane antigen, Epstein-Barr virus
  • Ribonucleoproteins
  • Viral Matrix Proteins
  • RNA