Epstein-Barr Virus Immediate-Early Protein Zta Co-Opts Mitochondrial Single-Stranded DNA Binding Protein To Promote Viral and Inhibit Mitochondrial DNA Replication

Disruption of cellular metabolic processes and usurpation of host proteins are hallmarks of herpesvirus lytic infection. Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) lytic replication is initiated by the immediate-early protein Zta. Zta is a multifunctional DNA binding protein that stimulates viral gene transcription, nucleates a replication complex at the viral origin of lytic replication, and inhibits cell cycle proliferation. To better understand these functions and identify cellular collaborators of Zta, we purified an epitope-tagged version of Zta in cells capable of supporting lytic replication. FLAG-tagged Zta was purified from a nuclear fraction using FLAG antibody immunopurification and peptide elution. Zta-associated proteins were isolated by sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and identified by mass spectrometry. The Zta-associated proteins included members of the HSP70 family and various single-stranded DNA and RNA binding proteins. The nuclear replication protein A subunits (RPA70 and RPA32) and the human mitochondrial single-stranded DNA binding protein (mtSSB) were confirmed by Western blotting to be specifically enriched in the FLAG-Zta immunopurified complex. mtSSB coimmunoprecipitated with endogenous Zta during reactivation of EBV-positive Burkitt lymphoma and lymphoblastoid cell lines. Small interfering RNA depletion of mtSSB reduced Zta-induced lytic replication of EBV but had only a modest effect on transcription activation function. A point mutation in the Zta DNA binding domain (C189S), which is known to reduce lytic cycle replication, eliminated mtSSB association with Zta. The predominantly mitochondrial localization of mtSSB was shifted to partly nuclear localization in cells expressing Zta. Mitochondrial DNA synthesis and genome copy number were reduced by Zta-induced EBV lytic replication. We conclude that Zta interaction with mtSSB serves the dual function of facilitating viral and blocking mitochondrial DNA replication.