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Virology. 1992 Jun;188(2):916-20.

Phosphorylation of the Epstein-Barr virus BZLF1 immediate-early gene product ZEBRA.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester 01655.


Expression of the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) BZLF1 gene product ZEBRA is a first step in the cascade of the virus-productive cycle. ZEBRA protein was detected by immunoblotting as a single band at 38 kDa in Akata cells after crosslinkage of membrane immunoglobulin G (IgG) with anti-IgG antibody. Immunoprecipitation of [32P]phosphate-labeled, anti-IgG-stimulated Akata cells with anti-ZEBRA antibody showed that ZEBRA was phosphorylated. Phosphoamino acid analysis demonstrated phosphorylation of serine, but not threonine or tyrosine, and tryptic-peptide mapping showed multiple phosphorylated peptides of ZEBRA. Treatment with 8-bromo cAMP and blockage of phosphodiesterase by theophylline in anti-IgG-stimulated cells increased the phosphorylation of three ZEBRA peptides. Incubation with 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA) reduced the phosphorylation of these three ZEBRA peptides, while treatment with staurosporine, a protein kinase C (PKC) inhibitor, enhanced their phosphorylations. These data suggest that activation of PKC with TPA induces the ZEBRA dephosphorylation and that activation of cAMP-dependent protein kinase A enhances the ZEBRA phosphorylation at the specific sites.

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