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J Virol. 1995 May;69(5):2998-3006.

Replication of Epstein-Barr virus oriLyt: lack of a dedicated virally encoded origin-binding protein and dependence on Zta in cotransfection assays.

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Department of Pharmacology and Molecular Sciences, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland 21205, USA.


Using a transient replication assay in which cosmid DNAs were cotransfected into Vero cells, we had previously demonstrated that oriLyt replication required six Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-encoded replication genes. No oriLyt origin-binding protein was identified in this study, but oriLyt replication in the cotransfection assay was also dependent on the three lytic cycle transactivators Zta, Rta, and Mta and an activity encoded by the EBV Sal/I F fragment. We have now used expression plasmids for the six known replication proteins to further examine the question of the requirement for an oriLyt origin-binding protein. The activity in Sal/I-F was shown to be encoded by BKRF3. The predicted product of this open reading frame is an enzyme, uracyl DNA glycosylase, not an origin-binding protein, and is dispensable for replication in assays using expression plasmids. BBLF2, which is positionally related to the gene for the herpes simplex virus (HSV) UL9 origin-binding protein, was confirmed to be expressed as a spliced transcript with BBLF3 and not as an independent product. Examination of the requirement for the EBV transactivators revealed that Rta, while contributing to replication efficiency, was dispensable. Mta could be substituted by HSV IE63, and in complementation experiments with HSV replication genes, Mta was no longer required for replication of EBV oriLyt, suggesting that the contribution of Mta to replication may be indirect. Zta continued to be required for detectable oriLyt replication both with the EBV replication proteins and in the complementation assays with HSV replication proteins. We conclude that EBV does not encode an equivalent of HSV UL9 and that Zta is the sole virally encoded protein serving an essential origin-binding function.

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