Detection of Epstein-Barr virus BGLF4 protein kinase in virus replication compartments and virus particles.

Abstract:

BGLF4 is the only serine/threonine protein kinase identified in Epstein-Barr virus (EBV); it is known to phosphorylate viral DNA polymerase processivity factor, EA-D (BMRF1), EBNA-LP, EBNA-2, cellular EF-1delta and nucleoside analogue ganciclovir. However, the expression and biological functions of BGLF4 have not yet been clearly demonstrated in EBV-infected cells. To reveal authentic functions of BGLF4 protein within viral-replicating cells, a panel of specific monoclonal antibodies was generated and characterized. The major immunogenic regions of BGLF4 were mapped to aa 27-70 and 327-429. Using these antibodies, the expression kinetics and localization of BGLF4 were analysed in reactivated EBV-positive lymphoid and epithelial cells. BGLF4 was expressed as a phosphoprotein at the early lytic stage and was detected predominantly in the nucleus of EBV-positive cells, but small amounts of BGLF4 were observed in cytosolic and heavy membrane fractions at the late phase of virus replication. Additionally, it was demonstrated that BGLF4 co-localizes with viral DNA polymerase processivity factor, EA-D (BMRF1), in the virus replication compartment and that it is a virion component. Finally, possible functional domains at the N terminus of BGLF4 were analysed and it was found that aa 1-26 of BGLF4 are dispensable for EA-D phosphorylation, whereas deletion of aa 27-70 reduced kinase activity.

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