Epstein–Barr virus (EBV) is a ubiquitous virus that causes infectious mononucleosis and several types of cancer, such as Burkitt lymphoma, T/NK-cell lymphoma, and nasopharyngeal carcinoma. As a herpesvirus, it encodes more than 80 genes, many of which have not been characterized. EBV BamHI S rightward reading frame 1 (BSRF1) encodes a tegument protein that, unlike its homologs herpes simplex virus unique long 51 (UL51) and human cytomegalovirus UL71, has not been extensively investigated. To examine the role of BSRF1, we prepared knockout and revertant strains using the bacterial artificial chromosome system. Unexpectedly, the disruption of the gene had little or no effect on EBV lytic replication and the transformation of primary B cells. However, the knockdown of BSRF1 in B95-8 cells decreased progeny production. An immunofluorescence assay revealed that BSRF1 localized to the Golgi apparatus in the cytoplasm, as did its homologs. BSRF1 also associated with BamHI G leftward reading frame 3.5 (BGLF3.5), BamHI B rightward reading frame 2 (BBRF2), and BamHI A leftward reading frame 1 (BALF1), and BALF1 was incorporated into the tegument fraction with BSRF1. Taken together, our results indicate that BSRF1 plays a role in secondary envelopment or virion egress in the cytoplasm, as do its homolog genes.
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