EBER2 is an abundant nuclear noncoding RNA expressed by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). Probing its possible chromatin localization by CHART revealed EBER2’s presence at the terminal repeats (TRs) of the latent EBV genome, overlapping previously identified binding sites for the B cell transcription factor PAX5. EBER2 interacts with PAX5 and is required for the localization of PAX5 to the TRs. EBER2 knockdown phenocopies PAX5 depletion in upregulating the expression of LMP2A/B and LMP1, genes nearest the TRs. Knockdown of EBER2 also decreases EBV lytic replication, underscoring the essential role of the TRs in viral replication. Recruitment of the EBER2-PAX5 complex is mediated by base-pairing between EBER2 and nascent transcripts from the TR locus. The interaction is evolutionarily conserved in the related primate herpesvirus CeHV15 despite great sequence divergence. Using base-pairing with nascent RNA to guide an interacting transcription factor to its DNA target site is a previously undescribed function for a trans-acting noncoding RNA.
EBV Noncoding RNA Binds Nascent RNA to Drive Host PAX5 to Viral DNA