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J Virol. 2005 Feb;79(4):2474-83.

Adenovirus protein VII functions throughout early phase and interacts with cellular proteins SET and pp32.

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Department of Microbiology, University of Virginia Health System, Charlottesville, VA 22908, USA.


Adenovirus protein VII is the major component of the viral nucleoprotein core. It is a highly basic nonspecific DNA-binding protein that condenses viral DNA inside the capsid. We have investigated the fate and function of protein VII during infection. "Input" protein VII persisted in the nucleus throughout early phase and the beginning of DNA replication. Chromatin immunoprecipitation revealed that input protein VII remained associated with viral DNA during this period. Two cellular proteins, SET and pp32, also associated with viral DNA during early phase. They are components of two multiprotein complexes, the SET and INHAT complexes, implicated in chromatin-related activities. Protein VII associated with SET and pp32 in vitro and distinct domains of protein VII were responsible for binding to the two proteins. Interestingly, protein VII was found in novel nuclear dot structures as visualized by immunofluorescence. The dots likely represent individual infectious genomes in association with protein VII. They appeared within 30 min after infection and localized in the nucleus with a peak of intensity between 4 and 10 h postinfection. After this, their intensity decreased and they disappeared between 16 and 24 h postinfection. Interestingly, disappearance of the dots required ongoing RNA synthesis but not DNA synthesis. Taken together these data indicate that protein VII has an ongoing role during early phase and the beginning of DNA replication.

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