Epstein-Barr nuclear antigen 2 (EBNA2), one of the six viral nuclear proteins expressed in latently infected B lymphocytes, is essential to the immortalization of B cells by Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). EBNA2 promotes transcriptional transactivation of viral and cellular genes by acting as an adapter molecule that binds to cellular sequence-specific DNA-binding proteins, Jκ recombination signal-binding protein (RBP-Jκ), and PU.1 and engages multiple members of the RNA polymerase II transcription complex. In the present study, we show that EBNA2 also interacts with hSNF5/Ini1, the human homolog of the yeast transcription factor SNF5. Gel filtration fractionation of partially purified EBV-positive lymphocyte nuclear extracts shows that a fraction of EBNA2 coelutes with both hSNF5/Ini1 and BRG1, a human homolog of SWI/SNF2, in the high-molecular-mass region (1.5 to 2.0 MDa) of a Superose 6 chromatogram. An affinity-purified rabbit antibody directed against hSNF5/Ini1 coimmunoprecipitates EBNA2 from this high- molecular-mass nuclear protein fraction, demonstrating that EBNA2 and hSNF5/Ini1 interact in vivo. This interaction is restricted to a subpopulation of phosphorylated viral EBNA2. Deletion mutation analysis of EBNA2 shows that the proline-rich amino-terminal end and a domain within the divergent region of EBNA2 mediate EBNA2-hSNF5/Ini1 interaction. Since the SNF-SWI complex participates in gene regulation through the alteration of nucleosome configuration and may be a component of the RNA polymerase II holoenzyme, the EBNA2-hSNF5/Ini1 interaction supports the hypothesis that EBNA2 facilitates transcriptional transactivation by acting as a transcription adapter molecule. We postulate that EBNA2 engages the hSNF- SWI complex to generate an open chromatin conformation at the EBNA2- responsive target genes, thereby potentiating the function of the RBP-Jκ- EBNA2-polymerase II transcription complex.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science