Author(s): Countryman J, Jenson H, Seibl R, Wolf H, Miller G
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Abstract These experiments identify an Epstein-Barr virus-encoded gene product, called ZEBRA (BamHI fragment Z Epstein-Barr replication activator) protein, which activates a switch between the latent and replicative life cycle of the virus. Our previous work had shown that the 2.7-kilobase-pair WZhet piece of rearranged Epstein-Barr virus DNA from a defective virus activated replication when introduced into cells with a latent genome, but it was not clear whether a protein product was required for the phenomenon. We now use deletional, site-directed, and chimeric mutagenesis, together with gene transfer, to show that a 43-kilodalton protein, encoded in the BZLF1 open reading frame of het DNA, is responsible for this process. The rearrangement in defective DNA does not contribute to the structural gene for the protein. Similar proteins with variable electrophoretic mobility (37 to 39 kilodaltons) were encoded by BamHI Z fragments from standard, nondefective Epstein-Barr virus genomes. Plasmids expressing the ZEBRA proteins from B95-8 and HR-1 viruses were less efficient at activating replication in D98/HR-1 cells than those which contained the ZEBRA gene from the defective virus. It is not yet known whether these functional differences are due to variations in expression of the plasmids or to intrinsic differences in the activity of these polymorphic polypeptides.
This article was published in J Virol
and referenced in Medicinal Chemistry