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Curr Top Microbiol Immunol. 2004;273:163-214.

Cell transformation by human adenoviruses.

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Institut für Medizinische Mikrobiologie und Hygiene, Universität Regensburg, Landshuterstr. 22, 93047 Regensburg, Germany.


The last 40 years of molecular biological investigations into human adenoviruses have contributed enormously to our understanding of the basic principles of normal and malignant cell growth. Much of this knowledge stems from analyses of their productive infection cycle in permissive host cells. Also, initial observations concerning the carcinogenic potential of human adenoviruses subsequently revealed decisive insights into the molecular mechanisms of the origins of cancer, and established adenoviruses as a model system for explaining virus-mediated transformation processes. Today it is well established that cell transformation by human adenoviruses is a multistep process involving several gene products encoded in early transcription units 1A (E1A) and 1B (E1B). Moreover, a large body of evidence now indicates that alternative or additional mechanisms are engaged in adenovirus-mediated oncogenic transformation involving gene products encoded in early region 4 (E4) as well as epigenetic changes resulting from viral DNA integration. In particular, detailed studies on the tumorigenic potential of subgroup D adenovirus type 9 (Ad9) E4 have now revealed a new pathway that points to a novel, general mechanism of virus-mediated oncogenesis. In this chapter, we summarize the current state of knowledge about the oncogenes and oncogene products of human adenoviruses, focusing particularly on recent findings concerning the transforming and oncogenic properties of viral proteins encoded in the E1B and E4 transcription units.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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