The viral capsid antigen complex of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), an important serodiagnostic marker of infection with the virus, consists of at least four components, with molecular masses of 150, 110, 411, and 21 kDa. Here we show that the 21-kDa component of the viral capsid antigen consists of products of two EBV genes, BFRF3 and BLRF2. Both products were expressed from late transcripts, were recognized by human antisera, and were present in virions. The BFRF3 product, but not that of BLRF2, fulfilled the definition of ZEBRA-associated protein p21 (ZAP21). In cells in which EBV was lytically replicating, BFRF3 protein was coimmunoprecipitated together with ZEBRA by a rabbit antiserum directed against amino acids 197 to 245 of BZLF1. In EBV- negative cells cotransfected with BZLF1 and BFRF3 expression vectors, BFRF3 was also coimmunoprecipitated with this antiserum. Although this antiserum could not detect BFRF3 on an immunoblot, it was able to immunoprecipitate BFRF3 in the absence of ZEBRA expression. The rabbit antiserum to amino acids 197 to 245 of BZLF1 was found to detect the same epitope at the carboxy end of BFRF3 as was recognized by rabbit antiserum to BFRF3 itself. Thus, coimmunoprecipitation of BFRF3 p21 with ZEBRA appeared to be due to cross- reactivity of the immunoprecipitating antiserum rather than to direct association of ZEBRA and BFRF3 p21.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science