Characterization of the Epstein-Barr virion-associated DNA polymerase as isolated from superinfected and drug-stimulated cells.

Abstract:

We reported previously that Epstein-Barr (EB) virions and detergent-treated nucleocapsids co-purified with significant amounts of DNA polymerase activity that did not resemble other known host or viral polymerases. We report here that this species of DNA polymerase activity is present at early times after infection in lymphocytes abortively lytically infected (superinfected) with EB virus. However, studies with [35S]methionine labeling suggest de novo synthesis of enzyme has not occurred. Conversely, drug-stimulated lymphocytes that synthesize EB viral late proteins and virions contain this species of polymerase to the virtual exclusion of all others. This EB viral polymerase shows a marked preference for nicked and gapped double-stranded rather than primed single-stranded DNA templates. Its processiveness as measured on primed theta X174 phage DNA template is lower than that of lymphocyte beta polymerase. The data reported here are consistent with the hypothesis that the EB virion-associated DNA polymerase is synthesized at late times in the viral life cycle as are other structural proteins but it plays an important role early after viral infection. It is known that mature herpes virion DNA (including that of EB virus) is nicked and gapped and we propose that virion polymerase repairs the viral DNA at an early stage in infection before viral DNA replication begins.

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