Zta, encoded by the BZLF1 gene of Epstein–Barr virus (EBV), is a transcription factor that is expressed during the immediate–early stage of the lytic cycle. The expression of Zta is crucial to viral lytic development. Earlier studies showed that Ku80 is a binding partner of Zta in ZKO-293 cells and is co-purified with Zta. This study verifies the interaction between Ku80 and Zta by using glutathione -transferase-pull-down and co-immunoprecipitation assays, and also by indirect immunofluorescence analysis. This investigation also reveals that Ku80 binds to Zta on Zta-response elements in the BHLF1 promoter, enhancing the promoter activity. This study also reveals that the interaction between Zta and Ku80 involves the C-terminal region of Zta and the 425 aa N-terminal region of Ku80. The interaction between these two proteins and the enhancement of transcription that is activated by Zta suggest that Ku80 is important to EBV lytic development.


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