Interaction of the lymphocyte-derived Epstein-Barr virus nuclear antigen EBNA-1 with its DNA-binding sites

C. H. Jones, S. D. Hayward, D. R. Rawlins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


The Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) nuclear antigen EBNA-1 plays an integral role in the maintenance of latency in EBV-infected B lymphocytes. EBNA-1 binds to sequences within the plasmid origin of replication (oriP). It is essential for the replication of the latent episomal form of EBV DNA and may also regulate the expression of the EBNA group of latency gene products. We have used sequence-specific DNA-binding assays to purify EBNA-1 away from nonspecific DNA-binding proteins in a B-lymphocyte cell extract. The availability of this eucaryotic protein has allowed an examination of the interaction of EBNA-1 with its specific DNA-binding sites and an evaluation of possible roles for the different binding loci within the EBV genome. DNA filter binding assays and DNase I footprinting experiments showed that the intact Raji-EBNA-1 protein recognized the two binding site loci in oriP and the BamHI-Q locus and no other sites in the EBV genome. Competition filter binding experiments with monomer and multimer region I consensus binding sites indicated that cooperative interactions between binding sites have relatively little impact on EBNA-1 binding to region I. An analysis of the binding parameters of the Raji EBNA-1 to the three naturally occurring binding loci revealed that the affinity of EBNA-1 for the three loci differed. The affinity for the sites in region I of oriP was greater than the affinity for the dyad symmetry sites (region II) of oriP, while the physically distant region III locus showed the lowest affinity. This arrangement may provide a mechanism whereby EBNA-1 can mediate differing regulatory functions through differential binding to its recognition sequence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)101-110
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of virology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1989
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Insect Science
  • Virology


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