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Analysis of an ankyrin-like region in Epstein Barr Virus encoded (EBV) BZLF-1 (ZEBRA) protein: implications for interactions with NF-κB and p53

Author(s): Dreyfus David | Liu Yang | Ghoda Lucy | Chang Joseph

Journal: Virology Journal
ISSN 1743-422X

Volume: 8;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 422;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: p53 | NF-κB | transcription | ankyrin | phylogeny | oncogenes | viral carcinogenesis | viral conditioning | epi-genomics | ping-pong evolution | ASPP2 | ASPP1 | iASPP

Abstract Background The carboxyl terminal of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) ZEBRA protein (also termed BZLF-1 encoded replication protein Zta or ZEBRA) binds to both NF-κB and p53. The authors have previously suggested that this interaction results from an ankyrin-like region of the ZEBRA protein since ankyrin proteins such as IκB interact with NF-κB and p53 proteins. These interactions may play a role in immunopathology and viral carcinogenesis in B lymphocytes as well as other cell types transiently infected by EBV such as T lymphocytes, macrophages and epithelial cells. Methods Randomization of the ZEBRA terminal amino acid sequence followed by statistical analysis suggest that the ZEBRA carboxyl terminus is most closely related to ankyrins of the invertebrate cactus IκB-like protein. This observation is consistent with an ancient origin of ZEBRA resulting from a recombination event between an ankyrin regulatory protein and a fos/jun DNA binding factor. In silico modeling of the partially solved ZEBRA carboxyl terminus structure using PyMOL software demonstrate that the carboxyl terminus region of ZEBRA can form a polymorphic structure termed ZANK (ZEBRA ANKyrin-like region) similar to two adjacent IκB ankyrin domains. Conclusions Viral capture of an ankyrin-like domain provides a mechanism for ZEBRA binding to proteins in the NF-κB and p53 transcription factor families, and also provides support for a process termed "Ping-Pong Evolution" in which DNA viruses such as EBV are formed by exchange of information with the host genome. An amino acid polymorphism in the ZANK region is identified in ZEBRA from tumor cell lines including Akata that could alter binding of Akata ZEBRA to the p53 tumor suppressor and other ankyrin binding protein, and a novel model of antagonistic binding interactions between ZANK and the DNA binding regions of ZEBRA is suggested that may be explored in further biochemical and molecular biological models of viral replication.
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