Molecular Characterization of the Epstein-Barr Virus BGLF2 Gene, its Expression, and Subcellular Localization


1 Department of Pathogenic Biology and Immunology, Sino-French Hoffmann Institute, School of Basic Medical Science, Guangzhou Medical University, Xinzao Town, Panyu, Guangzhou 511436, Guangdong, China

2 GMU-GIBH Joint School of Life Sciences, Guangzhou Medical University, Xinzao Town, Panyu, Guangzhou 511436, Guangdong, China

3 The Third Clinical School of Guangzhou Medical University, No. 63 Duobao Road, Liwan District, Guangzhou 510150, Guangdong, China

4 Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Second Affiliated Hospital of Guangzhou Medical University, No.250, Changgang Dong Road, Haizhu District, Guangzhou 510260, Guangdong, China



Background: Epstein–Barr virus (EBV) is a universal herpes virus which can cause a life-long and largely asymptomatic infection in the human population. However, the exact pathogenesis of the EBV infection is not well known.
Objective: A comprehensive bioinformatics prediction was carried out for investigating the molecular properties of the BGLF2 and to afford a foundation for future research of the role and instrument of BGLF2 in the course of EBV infection.
Materials and Methods: A 1011-base-pair sequence of BGLF2 gene from the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) Akata strain genome was amplified using polymerase chain reaction and was further characterized by cloning, sequencing, and subcellular localization in the COS-7 cells.
Results: The bioinformatics analysis demonstrated that EBV BGLF2 gene encodes a putative BGLF2 polypeptide which contains a conservative Herpes_UL16 domain. It was established that the polypeptide shows a close relationship with the Herpes UL16 tegument protein family and is extremely conserved among its homologues proteins encoded by UL16 genes. Multiple sequence alignments of the nucleic acid and amino acid sequence showed that the gene product of EBV BGLF2 contains a comparatively higher homology with the BGLF2-like proteins of the subfamily Gammaherpesvirinae than that of other subfamilies of the herpes virus. Moreover, the phylogenetic analyses suggested that EBV BGLF2 has a close genetic relationship with the member of Gammaherpesvirinae; in particular with the members of Cercopithecine herpesvirus 15 and Callitrichine herpesvirus 3. An antigen epitope analysis indicated that BGLF2 contains several potential B-cell epitopes. In addition, the secondary structure, as well as the three dimensional structure prediction suggests that BGLF2 consists of the both α-helix and b-strand. Besides, the subcellular localization prediction revealed that BGLF2 localizes in both nucleus and cytoplasm.
Conclusions: Illustrating the relevance of the molecular properties and genetic evolution of EBV, BGLF2 will offer the perspectives for further study on the role and mechanism of the BGLF2 in course of EBV infection. These works will also conduct our understanding of the EBV at the molecular level as well as enriching the herpesvirus database.


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