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EMBO J. 1993 Jan;12(1):167-75.

The Epstein-Barr virus nuclear antigen 2 interacts with an EBNA2 responsive cis-element of the terminal protein 1 gene promoter.

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Institut für Klinische Molekularbiologie und Tumorgenetik, GSF, München, Germany.


The Epstein-Barr virus protein EBNA2 acts as a transcriptional activator of cellular and viral genes and plays a crucial role in the immortalization of human primary B-cells by EBV. We have shown previously that EBNA2 transactivates the promoters of the latent membrane antigens LMP, TP1 and TP2. The promoter of the TP1 gene was chosen as a model system to study the molecular mechanism of EBNA2 mediated transactivation. To identify an EBNA2 dependent cis-acting element, various TP1 promoter-reporter gene constructs were transfected in the absence and presence of an EBNA2 expression vector into the established B-cell line BL41-P3HR1. We were able to delineate an 81 bp EBNA2 responsive region between -258 and -177 relative to the TP1 RNA start site. The element worked in either orientation and could mediate EBNA2 dependent transactivation on a heterologous promoter. Electrophoretic mobility shift assays revealed three specific protein-DNA complexes formed with sequences of the EBNA2 responsive element. Two of these were not cell type specific, but the third was detected only in EBNA2 positive cell extracts. Gel-shift analysis in the presence of EBNA2 specific monoclonal antibodies revealed that EBNA2 is a component of the third complex. Thus, these experiments demonstrate that EBNA2 interacts with an EBNA2 responsive cis-element of the TP1 promoter.

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