USP7 (also called HAUSP) is a de-ubiquitinating enzyme recently identified as a key regulator of the p53–mdm2 pathway, which stabilizes both p53 and mdm2. We have discovered that the Epstein–Barr nuclear antigen 1 protein of Epstein–Barr virus binds with high affinity to USP7 and disrupts the USP7–p53 interaction. The results have important implications for the role of Epstein–Barr nuclear antigen 1 in the cellular immortalization that is typical of an Epstein–Barr virus latent infection.

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