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J Virol. 2005 Sep;79(17):10915-22.

Identification of domains in Autographa californica multiple nucleopolyhedrovirus late expression factor 3 required for nuclear transport of P143.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada.


Autographa californica multiple nucleopolyhedrovirus (AcMNPV) late expression factor 3 (LEF-3) is an essential protein for DNA replication in transient assays. P143, a large DNA-binding protein with DNA-unwinding activity, is also essential for viral DNA replication in vivo. Both LEF-3 and P143 are found in the nucleus of AcMNPV-infected cells, but only LEF-3 localizes to the nucleus when expressed in transfected cells on its own from a plasmid expression vector. P143 requires LEF-3 as a transporter to enter the nucleus. To investigate the possibility that LEF-3 carries a nuclear localization signal domain, we constructed a series of LEF-3 deletion mutants and examined the intracellular localization of the products in plasmid-transfected cells. We discovered that the N-terminal 56 amino acid residues of LEF-3 were sufficient for nuclear localization and that this domain, when fused with either the green fluorescent protein reporter gene or P143, was able to direct these proteins to the nucleus. Transient DNA replication assays demonstrated that fusing the LEF-3 nuclear localization signal domain to P143 did not alter the function of P143 in supporting DNA replication but was not sufficient to substitute for whole LEF-3. These data show that although one role for LEF-3 during virus infection is to transport P143 to the nucleus, LEF-3 performs other essential replication functions once inside the nucleus.

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