We identified an Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) gene product which functions in transient-expression assays as a nonspecific trans activator. In Vero cells, cotransfection of the BglII J DNA fragment of EBV together with recombinant constructs containing the bacterial chloramphenicol acetyltransferase (CAT) gene gave up to a 100-fold increased expression of CAT activity over that in cells transfected with the recombinant CAT constructs alone. The BglII J fragment acted promiscuously, in that increased CAT synthesis was observed regardless of whether the promoter sequences driving the CAT gene were of EBV, simian virus 40, adenovirus, or herpes simplex virus origin. Cleavage of cloned BglII-J plasmid DNA before transfection revealed that activation was dependent upon the presence of an intact BMLF1 open reading frame. This was confirmed with subclones of BglII-J and with hybrid promoter-open reading frame constructs. This region of the genome is also present in the rearranged P3HR-1-defective DNA species, and defective DNA clones containing these sequences produced a similar activation of CAT expression in cotransfection experiments. The heterogeneous 45-60-kilodalton polypeptide product of BMLF1 may play an important regulatory role in expression of lytic-cycle proteins in EBV-infected lymphocytes.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science