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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1994 Apr 12;91(8):3463-7.

The Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) small RNA EBER1 binds and relocalizes ribosomal protein L22 in EBV-infected human B lymphocytes.

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  • 1Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06536-0812.


Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), an oncogenic herpesvirus, encodes two small RNAs (EBERs) that are expressed at high levels during latent transformation of human B lymphocytes. Here we report that a 15-kDa cellular protein called EAP (for EBER associated protein), previously shown to bind EBER1, is in fact the ribosomal protein L22. Approximately half of the L22 in EBV-positive cells is contained within the EBER1 ribonucleoprotein (RNP) particle, whereas the other half residues in monoribosomes and polysomes. Immunofluorescence with anti-L22 antibodies demonstrates that L22 is localized in the cytoplasm and the nucleoli of uninfected human cells, as expected, whereas EBV-positive lymphocytes also show strong nucleoplasmic staining. In situ hybridization indicates that the EBER RNPs are predominantly nucleoplasmic, suggesting that L22 relocalization correlates with binding to EBER1 in vivo. Since incubation of uninfected cell extracts with excess EBER1 RNA does not remove L22 from preexisting ribosomes, in vivo binding of L22 by EBER1 may precede ribosome assembly. The gene encoding L22 has recently been identified as the target of a chromosomal translocation in certain patients with leukemia, suggesting that L22 levels may be a determinant in cell transformation.

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