The Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) nuclear antigen 1 BamHI F promoter is activated on entry of EBV-transformed B cells into the lytic cycle.J Virol 1992; 66(12):7461-8JV
In Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-positive Burkitt's lymphoma cell lines exhibiting the latency I form of infection (i.e., EBV nuclear antigen 1 [EBNA1] positive in the absence of other latent proteins), the EBNA1 mRNA has a unique BamHI Q/U/K splice structure and is expressed from a novel promoter, Fp, located near the BamHI FQ boundary. This contrasts with the situation in EBV-transformed lymphoblastoid cell lines (LCLs) exhibiting the latency III form of infection (i.e., positive for all latent proteins), in which transcription from the upstream Cp or Wp promoters is the principal source of EBNA mRNAs. We carried out cDNA amplifications with oligonucleotide primer-probe combinations to determine whether Fp is ever active in an LCL environment. The results clearly showed that some LCLs express a Q/U/K-spliced EBNA1 mRNA in addition to the expected Cp/Wp-initiated transcripts; this seemed inconsistent with the concept of Cp/Wp and Fp as mutually exclusive promoters. Here we show that Fp is indeed silent in latency III cells but is activated at an early stage following the switch from latency III into the virus lytic cycle. Four pieces of evidence support this conclusion: (i) examples of coincident Cp/Wp and Fp usage in LCLs are restricted to those lines in which a small subpopulation of cells have spontaneously entered the lytic cycle; (ii) transcripts initiating from Fp can readily be demonstrated in spontaneously productive lines by S1 nuclease protection; (iii) the presence of Fp-initiated transcripts is not affected by acyclovir blockade of the late lytic cycle; and (iv) infection of latently infected LCLs with a recombinant vaccinia virus encoding the EBV immediate-early protein BZLF1, a transcriptional transactivator which normally initiates the lytic cycle, results in the appearance of the diagnostic Q/U/K-spliced transcripts.