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J Biol Chem. 1999 Aug 20;274(34):23777-86.

The adenovirus oncoprotein E1a stimulates binding of transcription factor ETF to transcriptionally activate the p53 gene.

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Department of Pathology, Dunedin School of Medicine, University of Otago, P. O. Box 913, Dunedin 9000, New Zealand.


Expression of the tumor suppressor protein p53 plays an important role in regulating the cellular response to DNA damage. During adenovirus infection, levels of p53 protein also increase. It has been shown that this increase is due not only to increased stability of the p53 protein but to the transcriptional activation of the p53 gene during infection. We demonstrate here that the E1a proteins of adenovirus are responsible for activating the mouse p53 gene and that both major E1a proteins, 243R and 289R, are required for complete activation. E1a brings about the binding of two cellular transcription factors to the mouse p53 promoter. One of these, ETF, binds to three upstream sites in the p53 promoter and one downstream site, whereas E2F binds to one upstream site in the presence of E1a. Our studies indicate that E2F binding is not essential for activation of the p53 promoter but that ETF is. Our data indicate the ETF site located downstream of the start site of transcription is the key site in conferring E1a responsiveness on the p53 promoter.

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