Kaposi sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) has a causative role in several human malignancies. KSHV latency-associated nuclear antigen (LANA) mediates persistence of viral episomes in latently infected cells. LANA mediates KSHV DNA replication and segregates episomes to progeny nuclei. The structure of the LANA DNA binding domain was recently solved, revealing a positive electrostatic patch opposite the DNA binding surface, which is the site of BET protein binding. Here we investigate the functional role of the positive patch in LANAmediated episome persistence. As expected, LANA mutants with alanine or glutamate substitutions in the central, peripheral, or lateral portions of the positive patch maintained the ability to bind DNA by EMSA. However, all of the substitution mutants were deficient for LANADNAreplication and episome maintenance. Mutation of the peripheral region generated the largest deficiencies. Despite these deficiencies, all positive patch mutants concentrated to dots along mitotic chromosomes in cells containing episomes, similar to LANA. The central and peripheral mutants, but not the lateral mutants, were reduced for BET protein interaction as assessed by co-immunoprecipitation. However, defects in BET protein binding were independent of episome maintenance function. Overall, the reductions in episome maintenance closely correlated with DNA replication deficiencies, suggesting that the replication defects account for the reduced episome persistence. Therefore, the electrostatic patch exerts a key role in LANA-mediated DNA replication and episome persistence and may act through a host cell partner(s) other than a BET protein or by inducing specific structures or complexes.