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Med Microbiol Immunol. 2008 Jun;197(2):223-31. Epub 2007 Dec 19.

Role of the cytomegalovirus major immediate early enhancer in acute infection and reactivation from latency.

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Department of Microbiology, Carver College of Medicine, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242, USA.


The cytomegalovirus (CMV) major immediate early (MIE) enhancer-containing promoter regulates the expression of the downstream MIE genes, which have critical roles in reactivation from latency and acute infection. The enhancer consists of binding sites for cellular transcription factors that are repeated multiple times. The primate and nonprimate CMV enhancers can substitute for one another. The enhancers are not functionally equivalent, but they do have overlapping activities. The CMV MIE enhancers are located between divergent promoters where the leftward genes are critical and essential for reactivation from latency and acute infection and the rightward gene is nonessential. The rightward transcription unit is controlled by an enhancer for murine CMV. In contrast, human CMV has a set of repressor elements that prevents enhancer effects on the rightward viral promoter. The human CMV enhancer that controls the leftward transcription unit has a distal component that is nonessential at high multiplicity of infection (MOI), but has a significant impact on the MIE gene expression at low MOI. The proximal enhancer influences directly the level of transcription of the MIE genes and contains an essential Sp-1 site. The MIE promoter has a site adjacent to the transcription start site that is essential at the earliest stage of infection. The MIE enhancer-containing promoter responds to signal transduction events and to cellular differentiation. The role of the CMV MIE enhancer-containing promoter in acute infection and reactivation from latency are reviewed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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