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Volume 2012, Article ID 438204, 15 pages
Review Article

The Epstein-Barr Virus EBNA1 Protein

Department of Molecular Genetics, University of Toronto, 1 Kings College Circle, Toronto, ON, Canada M5S 1A8

Received 21 October 2012; Accepted 28 November 2012

Academic Editors: M. Lopez-Lastra and L. Verkoczy

Copyright © 2012 Lori Frappier. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is a widespread human herpes virus that immortalizes cells as part of its latent infection and is a causative agent in the development of several types of lymphomas and carcinomas. Replication and stable persistence of the EBV genomes in latent infection require the viral EBNA1 protein, which binds specific DNA sequences in the viral DNA. While the roles of EBNA1 were initially thought to be limited to effects on the viral genomes, more recently EBNA1 has been found to have multiple effects on cellular proteins and pathways that may also be important for viral persistence. In addition, a role for EBNA1 in lytic infection has been recently identified. The multiple roles of EBNA1 in EBV infection are the subject of this paper.