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Methods Mol Med. 2007;131:15-31.

The use of in vitro transcription to probe regulatory functions of viral protein domains.


Adenoviruses (Ads), like other DNA tumor viruses, have evolved specific regulatory genes that facilitate virus replication by controlling the transcription of other viral genes as well as that of key cellular genes. In this regard, the E1A transcription unit contains multiple protein domains that can transcriptionally activate or repress cellular genes involved in the regulation of cell proliferation and cell differentiation. Studies using in vitro transcription have provided a basis for a molecular understanding of the interaction of viral regulatory proteins with the transcriptional machinery of the cell and continue to inform our understanding of transcription regulation. This chapter provides examples of the use of in vitro transcription to analyze transcriptional activation and transcriptional repression by purified, recombinant Ad E1A protein domains and single amino acid substitution mutants as well as the use of protein-affinity chromatography to identify host cell transcription factors involved in viral transcriptional regulation. A detailed description is provided of the methodology to prepare nuclear transcription extract, to prepare biologically active protein domains, to prepare affinity depleted transcription extracts, and to analyze transcription by primer extension and by run-off assay using naked DNA templates.

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