Zta has a dual role in the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) lytic cycle, acting as a key regulator of EBV lytic gene expression and also being essential for lytic viral DNA replication. Zta's replication function is mediated in part through interactions with the core viral replication proteins. We now show interaction between Zta and the helicase (BBLF4) and map the binding region to within amino acids (aa) 22 to 86 of the Zta activation domain. In immunofluorescence assays, green fluorescent protein (GFP)-tagged BBLF4 localized to the cytoplasm of transfected cells. Cotransfection of Zta resulted in translocation of BBLF4-GFP into the nucleus indicating interaction between these two proteins. However, Zta with a deletion of aa 24 to 86 was unable to mediate nuclear translocation of BBLF4-GFP. Results obtained with Zta variants carrying deletions across the aa 24 to 86 region indicated more than one contact site for BBLF4 within this domain, and this was reinforced by the behavior of the four-point mutant Zta (m22/26,74/75), which was severely impaired for BBLF4 interaction. Binding of BBLF4 to Zta was confirmed using GST affinity assays. In both cotransfection-replication assays and replication assays performed in EBV-positive P3HR1 cells, the Zta (m22/26,74/75) mutant was replication defective. In Zta-transfected D98-HR1 cells, replication compartments could be detected by immunofluorescence staining using anti-BMRF1 monoclonal antibody. Cells transfected with Zta variants that were defective for helicase binding still formed replication compartments, but Zta was excluded from these compartments. These experiments reveal a role for the Zta-helicase interaction in targeting Zta to sites of viral DNA replication.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science