Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is a member of the gammaherpesvirinae, which causes infectious mononucleosis and several types of cancer. BBRF2 is an uncharacterized gene of EBV and is expressed during the lytic phase. To evaluate its function, BBRF2-knockout EBV was prepared using bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) technology and the CRISPR/Cas9 system. Although viral gene expression, DNA synthesis, and progeny secretion were not affected, the infectivity of progeny viruses was significantly reduced by the disruption of BBRF2. When expressed alone, BBRF2 protein localized to the nucleus and cytoplasm, while the coexpression of an interacting partner, BSRF1, resulted in its relocalization to the cytoplasm. Interestingly, the coexpression of BBRF2 protected BSRF1 from proteasome/ubiquitin-dependent degradation. Therefore, BBRF2, together with BSRF1, augments viral infectivity.
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