Epstein-Barr virus nuclear antigen 3A partially coincides with EBNA3C genome-wide and is tethered to DNA through BATF complexes.

Schmidt SC*, Jiang S*, Zhou H, Willox B, Holthaus AM, Kharchenko PV, Johannsen EC, Kieff E, Zhao B.


Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) conversion of B-lymphocytes to Lymphoblastoid Cell Lines (LCLs) requires four EBV nuclear antigen (EBNA) oncoproteins: EBNA2, EBNALP, EBNA3A, and EBNA3C. EBNA2 and EBNALP associate with EBV and cell enhancers, up-regulate the EBNA promoter, MYC, and EBV Latent infection Membrane Proteins (LMPs), which up-regulate BCL2 to protect EBV-infected B-cells from MYC proliferation-induced cell death. LCL proliferation induces p16(INK4A) and p14(ARF)-mediated cell senescence. EBNA3A and EBNA3C jointly suppress p16(INK4A) and p14(ARF), enabling continuous cell proliferation. Analyses of the EBNA3A human genome-wide ChIP-seq landscape revealed 37% of 10,000 EBNA3A sites to be at strong enhancers; 28% to be at weak enhancers; 4.4% to be at active promoters; and 6.9% to be at weak and poised promoters. EBNA3A colocalized with BATF-IRF4, ETS-IRF4, RUNX3, and other B-cell Transcription Factors (TFs). EBNA3A sites clustered into seven unique groups, with differing B-cell TFs and epigenetic marks. EBNA3A coincidence with BATF-IRF4 or RUNX3 was associated with stronger EBNA3A ChIP-Seq signals. EBNA3A was at MYC, CDKN2A/B, CCND2, CXCL9/10, and BCL2, together with RUNX3, BATF, IRF4, and SPI1. ChIP-re-ChIP revealed complexes of EBNA3A on DNA with BATF. These data strongly support a model in which EBNA3A is tethered to DNA through a BATF-containing protein complexes to enable continuous cell proliferation.