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J Virol. 2003 May;77(10):5578-88.

Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus lytic origin (ori-Lyt)-dependent DNA replication: identification of the ori-Lyt and association of K8 bZip protein with the origin.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology, University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104, USA.


Herpesviruses utilize different origins of replication during lytic versus latent infection. Latent DNA replication depends on host cellular DNA replication machinery, whereas lytic cycle DNA replication requires virally encoded replication proteins. In lytic DNA replication, the lytic origin (ori-Lyt) is bound by a virus-specified origin binding protein (OBP) that recruits the core replication machinery. In this report, we demonstrated that DNA sequences in two noncoding regions of the Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) genome, between open reading frames (ORFs) K4.2 and K5 and between K12 and ORF71, are able to serve as origins for lytic cycle-specific DNA replication. The two ori-Lyt domains share an almost identical 1,153-bp sequence and a 600-bp downstream GC-rich repeat sequence, and the 1.7-kb DNA sequences are sufficient to act as a cis signal for replication. We also showed that an AT-palindromic sequence in the ori-Lyt domain is essential for the DNA replication. In addition, a virally encoded bZip protein, namely K8, was found to bind to a DNA sequence within the ori-Lyt by using a DNA binding site selection assay. The binding of K8 to this region was confirmed in cells by using a chromatin immunoprecipitation method. Further analysis revealed that K8 binds to an extended region, and the entire region is 100% conserved between two KSHV ori-Lyt's. K8 protein displays significant similarity to the Zta protein of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), which is a known OBP of EBV. This notion, together with the ability of K8 to bind to the KSHV ori-Lyt, suggests that K8 may function as an OBP in KSHV.

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