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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

trans activation of an Epstein-Barr viral transcriptional enhancer by the Epstein-Barr viral nuclear antigen 1.

Two regions of the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) genome together make up an element, oriP, which acts in cis to support plasmid replication in cells that express the EBV nuclear antigen 1 (EBNA-1). The two components of oriP are a region containing a 65-base-pair (bp) dyad symmetry and a region containing 20 copies of a 30-bp direct repeat. Here we show that the 30-bp family of repeats of oriP can function as a transcriptional enhancer that is activated in trans by the EBNA-1 gene product. In either EBV-genome-positive cells or in cells that express EBNA-1, the 30-bp family of repeats, when positioned in either orientation upstream or downstream, enhances expression of the chloramphenicol acetyltransferase (CAT) gene expressed from either the simian virus 40 early promoter or the herpes simplex virus type 1 thymidine kinase promoter. The extent of transcriptional enhancement varies with the promoter and cell type. This enhanced CAT expression reflects an increased level of CAT mRNA and does not result from amplification of the plasmids expressing CAT. In addition, plasmids carrying the gene for resistance to hygromycin B and the 30-bp family of repeats yielded 10 to 100 times more hygromycin B-resistant colonies than the vector lacking the 30-bp family of repeats in both EBV-genome-positive cells and cells that express EBNA-1. EBNA-1 is known to bind to sequences within the 30-bp family of repeats (D. R. Rawlins, G. Milman, S. D. Hayward, and G. S. Hayward, Cell 42:859-868, 1985), and these trans- and cis-acting elements together have at least two functional roles: (i) they are required for DNA replication dependent upon oriP, and (ii) they can enhance expression of genes linked to the 30-bp family of repeats of oriP.[1]


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