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J Virol. 2003 Jan;77(1):199-207.

ZEB negatively regulates the lytic-switch BZLF1 gene promoter of Epstein-Barr virus.

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  • 1McArdle Laboratory for Cancer Research, University of Wisconsin Medical School, Madison 53706-1599, USA.


Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is a human herpesvirus capable of establishing a latent state in B lymphocytes. The product of the immediate-early BZLF1 gene, Zta, is a transcriptional transactivator essential for viral DNA amplification and virion production. Previously, we identified a negative cis-acting element within the BZLF1 promoter termed ZV. ZV contains the sequence 5'-CAGGTA-3' located at nucleotides -17 to -12 relative to the transcription initiation site. It sequence specifically binds a cellular factor, ZVR. Based on sequence binding specificity, we postulated that ZVR may be zinc finger E-box binding factor (ZEB) or a related zinc finger/homeodomain family member. We show here by immunoshift assays that ZVR and human ZEB specifically cross-react with an antibody to deltaEF1, the chicken homolog of ZEB. Competition electrophoretic mobility shift assays confirmed that ZEB binds to the ZV element with the same binding specificity as ZVR. Overexpression of ZEB in either B-lymphocytic DG75 cells or mammary epithelial MCF-7 cells repressed Zta-induced activation of the BZLF1 promoter four- to fivefold via the ZV site. Thus, we conclude that the previously identified cellular repressor ZVR is, in fact, ZEB. We also present evidence that other cellular factors likely affect the transcriptional activity of ZEB. Lastly, we identify a ZEB-binding site within the promoter of the lytic BRLF1 gene of EBV. We postulate that ZEB likely plays an important role in regulating the life cycle of EBV.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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