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Virology. 2008 Jan 20;370(2):430-42. Epub 2007 Oct 22.

The Epstein-Barr virus BMRF-2 protein facilitates virus attachment to oral epithelial cells.

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Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, CA 94143-0654, USA.


We previously reported that BMRF-2, an Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) glycoprotein, binds to beta1 family integrins and is important for EBV infection of polarized oral epithelial cells. To further study the functions of BMRF-2, we constructed a recombinant EBV that lacks BMRF-2 expression by homologous recombination in B95-8 cells. We found that lack of BMRF-2 resulted in about 50% reduction of EBV attachment to oral epithelial cells, but not to B lymphocytes, suggesting that BMRF-2 is critical for EBV infection in oral epithelial cells, but not in B lymphocytes. In polarized oral epithelial cells, infection rate of the recombinant EBV virus was about 4- to 8-fold lower than the wild-type B95-8 virus. Cell adhesion assays using the BMRF-2 RGD peptide and its RGE and AAA mutants showed that the RGD motif is critical for BMRF-2 binding to integrins. These data are consistent with our previous observation that interactions between EBV BMRF-2 and integrins are critical for infection of oral epithelial cells with EBV.

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