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SUMO binding by the Epstein-Barr virus protein kinase BGLF4 is crucial for BGLF4 function.

Li R, Wang L, Liao G, Guzzo CM, Matunis MJ, Zhu H, Hayward SD
Journal of virology


An Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) protein microarray was used to screen for proteins binding noncovalently to the small ubiquitin-like modifier SUMO2. Among the 11 SUMO binding proteins identified was the conserved protein kinase BGLF4. The mutation of potential SUMO interaction motifs (SIMs) in BGLF4 identified N- and C-terminal SIMs. The mutation of both SIMs changed the intracellular localization of BGLF4 from nuclear to cytoplasmic, while BGLF4 mutated in the N-terminal SIM remained predominantly nuclear. The mutation of the C-terminal SIM yielded an intermediate phenotype with nuclear and cytoplasmic staining. The transfer of BGLF4 amino acids 342 to 359 to a nuclear green fluorescent protein (GFP)-tagged reporter protein led to the relocalization of the reporter to the cytoplasm. Thus, the C-terminal SIM lies adjacent to a nuclear export signal, and coordinated SUMO binding by the N- and C-terminal SIMs blocks export and allows the nuclear accumulation of BGLF4. The mutation of either SIM prevented SUMO binding in vitro. The ability of BGLF4 to abolish the SUMOylation of the EBV lytic cycle transactivator ZTA was dependent on both BGLF4 SUMO binding and BGLF4 kinase activity. The global profile of SUMOylated cell proteins was also suppressed by BGLF4 but not by the SIM or kinase-dead BGLF4 mutant. The effective BGLF4-mediated dispersion of promyelocytic leukemia (PML) bodies was dependent on SUMO binding. The SUMO binding function of BGLF4 was also required to induce the cellular DNA damage response and to enhance the production of extracellular virus during EBV lytic replication. Thus, SUMO binding by BGLF4 modulates BGLF4 function and affects the efficiency of lytic EBV replication.

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