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Virology. 1994 Jul;202(1):408-17.

Activation of RNA polymerase III transcription of human Alu elements by herpes simplex virus.

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


We found that HSV infection of HeLa cells strongly induces RNA polymerase III transcription of endogenous human Alu elements, resulting in the accumulation of high levels of cytoplasmic RNAs initiated from Alu pol III promoters. Induction required viral protein synthesis and occurred during infection with a viral mutant bearing a null mutation in the immediate-early (IE) gene encoding ICP4, suggesting that one or more IE proteins are sufficient for activation. However, mutations in each of the other four IE genes had no effect on activation of Alu expression. We therefore conclude that HSV most likely encodes at least two proteins that are each sufficient to activate Alu transcription and that at least one of these is an IE protein other than ICP4.

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