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Mol Cell Biol. 1993 Jun;13(6):3231-44.

Activation of RNA polymerase III transcription of human Alu repetitive elements by adenovirus type 5: requirement for the E1b 58-kilodalton protein and the products of E4 open reading frames 3 and 6.

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  • 1Pathology Department, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.


We found that transcription of endogenous human Alu elements by RNA polymerase III was strongly stimulated following infection of HeLa cells with adenovirus type 5, leading to the accumulation of high levels of Alu transcripts initiated from Alu polymerase III promoters. In contrast to previously reported cases of adenovirus-induced activation of polymerase III transcription, induction required the E1b 58-kDa protein and the products of E4 open reading frames 3 and 6 in addition to the 289-residue E1a protein. In addition, E1a function was not required at high multiplicities of infection, suggesting that E1a plays an indirect role in Alu activation. These results suggest previously unsuspected regulatory properties of the adenovirus E1b and E4 gene products and provide a novel approach to the study of the biology of the most abundant class of dispersed repetitive DNA in the human genome.

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