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Nucleic Acids Res. 1995 Dec 25;23(24):4939-45.

RBP-J kappa repression activity is mediated by a co-repressor and antagonized by the Epstein-Barr virus transcription factor EBNA2.

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Unit de Virologie Humaine, ENS-INSERM U412, Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon, France.


The Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) protein EBNA2 is a transcriptional activator that can be targeted to its DNA responsive elements by direct interaction with the cellular protein RBP-J kappa. RBP-J kappa is a ubiquitous factor, highly conserved between man, mouse and Drosophila, whose function in mammalian cells is largely unknown. Here we provide evidence that RBP-J kappa is a transcriptional repressor and, more importantly, that RBP-J kappa repression is mediated by a co-repressor. The function of the co-repressor could be counterbalanced by making a fusion protein (RBP-VP16) between RBP-J kappa and the VP16 activation domain. This RBP-VP16-mediated activation could be strongly increased by an EBNA2 protein deprived of its activation domain, but not by an EBNA2 protein incapable of making physical contact with RBP-J kappa. Our results suggest that EBNA2 activates transcription by both interfering with the function of a co-repressor recruited by RBP-J kappa and providing an activation domain.

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