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Cell. 1996 Mar 8;84(5):791-800.

Crystal structure of the DNA-binding domain of the Epstein-Barr virus origin-binding protein, EBNA1, bound to DNA.

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Institute for Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, Cancer Research Group, Department of Pathology, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario Canada.


The Epstein-Barr virus nuclear antigen 1 (EBNA1) protein binds to and activates DNA replication from oriP, the latent origin of DNA replication in Epstein-Barr virus. The crystal structure of the DNA-binding domain of EBNA1 bound to an 18 bp binding site was solved at 2.4 A resolution. EBNA1 comprises two domains, a flanking and a core domain. The flanking domain, which includes a helix that projects into the major groove and an extended chain that travels along the minor groove, makes all of the sequence-determining contacts with the DNA. The core domain, which is structurally homologous to the complete DNA-binding domain of the bovine papilloma virus E2 protein, makes no direct contacts with the DNA bases. A model for origin unwinding is proposed that incorporates the known biochemical and structural features of the EBNA1-origin interaction.

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