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

Characterization of the ZI domains in the Epstein-Barr virus BZLF1 gene promoter: role in phorbol ester induction.

Induction of the Epstein-Barr virus lytic cycle is mediated through the immediate-early BZLF1 gene and the coordinately regulated BRLF1 gene. The BZLF1 gene product, Zta, transactivates its own promoter, as well as the promoters of a number of lytic genes, thereby initiating a cascade of viral gene expression. Previous work identified four related elements (ZIA, ZIB, ZIC, and ZID) and a cyclic AMP response element binding-AP-1 element (ZII) that are involved in the induction of the BZLF1 promoter (Zp) by the phorbol ester 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA) (E. Flemington and S. H. Speck, J. Virol. 64:1217-1226, 1990). Here we report a detailed characterization of TPA induction mediated by the ZI domains. Mutation of individual ZI domains within the context of the intact promoter significantly diminished TPA induction. Cloning of individual ZI domains upstream of a minimal promoter demonstrated that the ZIA, ZIC, and ZID domains, but not the ZIB domain, are TPA responsive. Furthermore, cloning of the ZII domain downstream of the ZI domains significantly augmented TPA induction. The critical regions within the ZIA and ZIC elements involved in binding of cellular factors were identified by using methylation interference and electrophoretic mobility shift analyses of ZI domain mutants. Four specific complexes were observed with the ZIA and ZID domains, all of which could be specifically competed for by either the ZIA or ZID domain. Methylation interference analyses of bound complexes revealed the presence of two overlapping binding sites for cellular factors in the ZIA domain, and functional studies provided evidence that both of these sites are involved in TPA induction. Functional analyses of the ZIC domain revealed that the 5' region of this domain is largely responsible for mediating TPA induction. Binding data correlated well with functional activity and revealed that the ZIC domain binds only a subset of the cellular factors that bind to the ZIA and ZID domains. Analysis of factor binding to the ZIB domain revealed only a single shifted complex, which correlated with the most slowly migrating complex observed with the ZIA and ZID domains. These data provide a direct demonstration of TPA induction mediated by the ZIA, ZIC, and ZID domains and also provide the first evidence that the ZI domains exhibit distinct functional characteristics.[1]


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