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J Virol. 2009 May;83(10):5219-31. doi: 10.1128/JVI.02378-08. Epub 2009 Feb 25.

Protein array identification of substrates of the Epstein-Barr virus protein kinase BGLF4.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology and Molecular Sciences, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, BRB 333, 733 N. Broadway Ave., Baltimore, MD 21205, USA.


A conserved family of herpesvirus protein kinases plays a crucial role in herpesvirus DNA replication and virion production. However, despite the fact that these kinases are potential therapeutic targets, no systematic studies have been performed to identify their substrates. We generated an Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) protein array to evaluate the targets of the EBV protein kinase BGLF4. Multiple proteins involved in EBV lytic DNA replication and virion assembly were identified as previously unrecognized substrates for BGLF4, illustrating the broad role played by this protein kinase. Approximately half of the BGLF4 targets were also in vitro substrates for the cellular kinase CDK1/cyclin B. Unexpectedly, EBNA1 was identified as a substrate and binding partner of BGLF4. EBNA1 is essential for replication and maintenance of the episomal EBV genome during latency. BGLF4 did not prevent EBNA1 binding to sites in the EBV latency origin of replication, oriP. Rather, we found that BGLF4 was recruited by EBNA1 to oriP in cells transfected with an oriP vector and BGLF4 and in lytically induced EBV-positive Akata cells. In cells transfected with an oriP vector, the presence of BGLF4 led to more rapid loss of the episomal DNA, and this was dependent on BGLF4 kinase activity. Similarly, expression of doxycycline-inducible BGLF4 in Akata cells led to a reduction in episomal EBV genomes. We propose that BGLF4 contributes to effective EBV lytic cycle progression, not only through phosphorylation of EBV lytic DNA replication and virion proteins, but also by interfering with the EBNA1 replication function.

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