PNAS, 6 September, 2022, DOI：https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2203782119
Epstein-Barr virus protein BKRF4 restricts nucleosome assembly to suppress host antiviral responses
Jiao Chen, Zuer Lu, Weibin Gong, Xue Xiao, Xiaoli Feng, Wei Li, Shan Shan, Dongyi Xu, and Zheng Zhou
Inhibition of host DNA damage response (DDR) is a common mechanism used by viruses to manipulate host cellular machinery and orchestrate viral life cycles. Epstein-Barr virus tegument protein BKRF4 associates with cellular chromatin to suppress host DDR signaling, but the underlying mechanism remains elusive. Here, we identify a BKRF4 histone binding domain (residues 15–102, termed BKRF4-HBD) that can accumulate at the DNA damage sites to disrupt 53BP1 foci formation. The high-resolution structure of the BKRF4-HBD in complex with a human H2A–H2B dimer shows that BKRF4-HBD interacts with the H2A–H2B dimer via the N-terminal region (NTR), the DWP motif (residues 80–86 containing D81, W84, P86), and the C-terminal region (CTR). The “triple-anchor” binding mode confers BKRF4-HBD the ability to associate with the partially unfolded nucleosomes, promoting the nucleosome disassembly. Importantly, disrupting the BKRF4–H2A–H2B interaction impairs the binding between BKRF4-HBD and nucleosome in vitro and inhibits the recruitment of BKRF4-HBD to DNA breaks in vivo. Together, our study reveals the structural basis of BKRF4 bindings to the partially unfolded nucleosome and elucidates an unconventional mechanism of host DDR signal attenuation.