Negative regulation of the BZLF1 promoter of Epstein-Barr virus

Eduardo A. Montalvo, Yang Shi, Thomas E. Shenk, Arnold J. Levine

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The Epstein-Barr virus BZLF1 gene product (ZEBRA) is a transcriptional activator whose expression in latently infected B cells is sufficient to induce the viral lytic cycle. Since there is no transcription of BZLF1 during latency, we carried out experiments to determine whether cis-acting negative elements in the BZLF1 promoter contribute to the lack of expression during this phase of the virus cycle. A series of deletion plasmids encompassing positions -551 to +14 of the BZLF1 promoter region were constructed and tested for the ability to drive chloramphenicol acetyltransferase (CAT) gene expression in the absence of inducing agents such as 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA) and anti-immunoglobulin. Expression from the intact 551-bp region was very weak in most of the cell lines tested, but deletion of 165 bp from the 5′ end caused a sevenfold increase in expression of CAT. Within these 165 bp, a minimal 48-bp region was sufficient to down regulate the expression of a simian virus 40/CAT fusion plasmid. The 48-bp negative element consists of 7-bp dyad symmetry elements separated by 27 bp. The rightmost half of the dyad symmetry element partially overlaps a region which has a 14-of-15-bp homology to the human cytoskeletal γ-actin promoter.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3647-3655
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of virology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1991

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Insect Science
  • Virology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology


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