The Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) BMRF1 protein is an essential replication protein acting at viral replication forks as a viral DNA polymerase processivity factor, whereas the BALF2 protein is a singles-tranded DNA-binding protein that also acts at replication forks and is most abundantly expressed during viral productive replication. Here we document that the BMRF1 protein evidently enhances viral BZLF1 transcription factor-mediated transactivation of the BALF2 gene promoter. Mutagenesis and electrophoretic mobility shift assays demonstrated the BALF2 promoter to harbor two BZLF1 protein-binding sites (BZLF1-responsive elements). Direct binding of the BZLF1 protein to BZLF1-responsive elements and physical interaction between BZLF1 and BMRF1 proteins are prerequisite for the BMRF1 protein up-regulation of the BALF2 gene promoter. A monomeric mutant, C95E, which is defective in homodimerization, could still interact and enhance BZLF1-mediated transactivation. Furthermore although EBV protein kinase phosphorylates BMRF1 protein extensively, it turned out that phosphorylation of the protein by the kinase is inhibitory to the enhancement of the BZLF1-mediated transactivation of BALF2 promoter. Exogenous expression of BMRF1 protein augmented BALF2 expression in HEK293 cells harboring the EBV genome but lacking BMRF1 and BALF5 genes, demonstrating functions as a transcriptional regulator in the context of viral infection. Overall the BMRF1 protein is a multifunctional protein that cannot only act as a DNA polymerase processivity factor but also enhances BALF2 promoter transcription as a coactivator for the BZLF1 protein, regulating the expression level of viral single-stranded DNA-binding protein.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology