Rta is an Epstein-Barr virus tegument protein that improves the stability of capsid protein BORF1.


Department of Biochemical Science and Technology, College of Life Science, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan. Electronic address: [Email]


Rta, a key transcription factor expressed by Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), primarily acts to induce activation of the EBV lytic cycle. Interestingly, we observed from an immunogold assay that Rta is also present on the EBV capsid in the host cell nucleus, and a centrifugation study further revealed that Rta cofractionates with EBV virions. Importantly, cofractionated Rta showed similar properties as the EBV tegument protein, BGLF4. Glutathione S-transferase (GST)-pulldown and coimmunoprecipitation assays subsequently demonstrated that Rta directly interacts with the EBV capsid protein, BORF1. Rta was observed to colocalize with BORF1 in the nucleus during EBV lytic induction, and this interaction appears to influence BORF1 stability. Moreover, we found that BORF1 is modified by ubiquitin, and Rta reduces this ubiquitination. These results indicate that Rta may act as an inner tegument protein to improve EBV capsid stability and critical to viral infection.


BORF1,Capsid protein,Epstein-Barr virus,Rta,Tegument protein,

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