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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2012, Article ID 347597, 9 pages
Research Article

A Study of Epstein-Barr Virus BRLF1 Activity in a Drosophila Model System

Department of Biology, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, NC 27402, USA

Received 21 October 2011; Accepted 6 December 2011

Academic Editors: I. R. Arkhipova, B. Harrach, and F. Meggetto

Copyright © 2012 Amy Adamson and Dennis LaJeunesse. 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, a member of the herpesvirus family, infects a large majority of the human population and is associated with several diseases, including cancer. We have created Drosophila model systems to study the interactions between host cellular proteins and the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) immediate-early genes BRLF1 and BZLF1. BRLF1 and BZLF1 function as transcription factors for viral transcription and are also potent modifiers of host cell activity. Here we have used our model systems to identify host cell genes whose proteins modulate BRLF1 and BZLF1 functions. Via our GMR-R model system, we have found that BRLF1 expression results in overproliferation of fly tissue, unlike BZLF1, and does so through the interaction with known tumor suppressor genes. Through an additional genetic screen, we have identified several Drosophila genes, with human homologs, that may offer further insights into the pathways that BRLF1 interacts with in order to promote EBV replication.