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J Virol. 2010 Jun;84(12):6153-62. doi: 10.1128/JVI.00115-10. Epub 2010 Mar 31.

Identification of a domain of the baculovirus Autographa californica multiple nucleopolyhedrovirus single-strand DNA-binding protein LEF-3 essential for viral DNA replication.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Queen's University, Kingston, ON K7L 3N6, Canada.


Autographa californica multiple nucleopolyhedrovirus (AcMNPV) lef-3 is one of nine genes required for viral DNA replication in transient assays. LEF-3 is predicted to contain several domains related to its functions, including nuclear localization, single-strand DNA binding, oligomerization, interaction with P143 helicase, and interaction with a viral alkaline nuclease. To investigate the essential nature of LEF-3 and the roles it may play during baculovirus DNA replication, a lef-3 null bacmid (bKO-lef3) was constructed in Escherichia coli and characterized in Sf21 cells. The results showed that AcMNPV lef-3 is essential for DNA replication, budded virus production, and late gene expression in vivo. Cells transfected with the lef-3 knockout bacmid produced low levels of early proteins (P143, DNA polymerase, and early GP64) and no late proteins (P47, VP39, or late GP64). To investigate the functional role of domains within the LEF-3 open reading frame in the presence of the whole viral genome, plasmids expressing various LEF-3 truncations were transfected into Sf21 cells together with bKO-lef3 DNA. The results showed that expression of AcMNPV LEF-3 amino acids 1 to 125 was sufficient to stimulate viral DNA replication and to support late gene expression. Expression of Choristoneura fumiferana MNPV lef-3 did not rescue any LEF-3 functions. The construction of a LEF-3 amino acid 1 to 125 rescue bacmid revealed that this region of LEF-3, when expressed in the presence of the rest of the viral genome, stimulated viral DNA replication and late and very late protein expression, as well as budded virus production.

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