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Virology. 1996 Jun 15;220(2):367-76.

Activation of oriLyt, the lytic origin of DNA replication of Epstein-Barr virus, by BZLF1.

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Institut für Klinische Molekularbiologie und Tumorgenetik, GSF-Forschungszentrum für Umwelt und Gesundheit GmbH, Munich, Germany.


oriLyt, the cis-acting element of the lytic origin of DNA replication of Epstein-Barr virus, is activated by the viral transactivator BZLF1 which belongs to the extended bZIP class of transcription factors. Seven binding sites for BZLF1, so-called ZRE sites, are located within oriLyt. By mutational analysis of individual ZRE sites, we found that lytic DNA replication is dependent on only four of these sites which colocate with the promoter of the BHLF1 gene. The remaining three ZRE sites distal to the BHLF1 promoter were dispensable for DNA replication and did not contribute to long-range transcriptional activation of this promoter by BZLF1. This finding indicated that a similar set of ZRE sites is involved in DNA replication and transcriptional activation. To determine the function of BZLF1 in DNA replication, BZLF1 mutants with successive deletions in the transactivation domain were analyzed in replication assays. Unexpectedly, most BZLF1 mutants which failed to support DNA replication were found to be equally defective in transcriptional activation. Therefore, similar trans-acting domains of BZLF1 are involved both in replication and in transcription.

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