Evidence for two classes of chromatin-associated Epstein-Barr virus-determined nuclear antigen

T. C. Spelsberg, T. B. Sculley, G. M. Pikler, J. A. Gilbert, G. R. Pearson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


A new class of Epstein-Barr virus nuclear antigen (EBNA) was identified by the complement fixation assay. This new species of EBNA is more tightly bound to chromatin and was termed class II EBNA, as opposed to the more weakly associated species, class I EBNA. Preparations of this new antigen(s) specifically reduced absorption with the titer of anti-EBNA antibodies as determined by the anticomplement immunofluorescence assay. Therefore, the complement fixation antigens (class II EBNA) appear to be related to the classical EBNA (class I EBNA). The class I EBNA was found to focus at the same pH (4.6) as the soluble antigen found in the cytosol. The class II EBNA differed from the class I EBNA with regard to its overall charge, molecular size, antigenicity, and affinity for chromatin. The class II EBNA appeared to be a basic protein, based on its apparent pI of 9.2 and its binding to cation-exchange resins. It differed from histones with regard to its molecular size (molecular weight between 60,000 and 70,000) and its elution from hydroxylapatite chromatography. Steps were taken to prevent proteolysis and artifacts in the immunological assays and in the overall charge estimation of the new antigen by nonspecific basic histone protein-acidic protein interactions. Both class I and class II EBNA were identified by radioimmunoelectrophoresis on two-dimensional polyacrylamide gels with pI values of 5.0 and 8.5, respectively, and a molecular weight range of 60,000 to 70,000 for both. A lower-molecular-weight antigen identified by molecular sieve chromatography appeared to be due to interference by histones in the immunoassays since it was not observed by the two-dimensional gel electrophoresis. Further characterization of this class II EBNA is in progress.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)555-565
Number of pages11
JournalUnknown Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1982

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Insect Science
  • Virology


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