The Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), also called human herpesvirus 4 (HHV-4), is one of eight known viruses in the herpes family, and is one of the most common viruses in humans. EBV infects B cells of the immune system and epithelial cells. Once EBV's initial lytic infection is brought under control, EBV latency persists in the individual's B cells for the rest of the individual's life. EBNA-1 protein plays an essential role in replication and partitioning of viral genomic DNA during latent viral infection. During this phase, the circular double-stranded viral DNA undergoes replication once per cell cycle and is efficiently partitioned to the daughter cells. EBNA1 activates the initiation of viral DNA replication through binding to specific sites in the viral latent origin of replication, oriP. Additionally, it governs the segregation of viral episomes by mediating their attachment to host cell metaphase chromosomes. Also activates the transcription of several viral latency genes. Finally, it can counteract the stabilization of host p53/TP53 by host USP7, thereby decreasing apoptosis and increasing host cell survival.
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