A recombinant baculovirus containing the complete sequence for the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) DNA polymerase catalytic subunit, BALF5 gene product, under the control of the baculovirus polyhedrin promoter was constructed. Insect cells infected with the recombinant virus produced a protein of 110 kDa, recognized by anti-BALF5 protein-specific polyclonal antibody. The expressed EBV DNA polymerase catalytic polypeptide was purified from the cytosolic fraction of the recombinant virus-infected insect cells. The purified protein exhibited both DNA polymerase and 3'-to-5' exonuclease activities, which were neutralized by the anti-BALF5 protein-specific antibody. These results indicate that the 3'-to-5' exonuclease activity associated with the EBV DNA polymerase (T. Tsurumi, Virology 182:376-381, 1991) is an inherent feature of the polymerase catalytic polypeptide. The DNA polymerase and the exonuclease activities of the EBV DNA polymerase catalytic subunit were sensitive to ammonium sulfate in contrast to those of the polymerase complex purified from EBV-producing lymphoblastoid cells, which were stimulated by salt. Furthermore, the template-primer preference for the polymerase catalytic subunit was different from that for the polymerase complex. These observations strongly suggest that the presence of EBV DNA polymerase accessory protein, BMRF1 gene product, does influence the enzymatic properties of EBV DNA polymerase catalytic subunit.