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Antiviral Res. 2013 Feb;97(2):122-36. doi: 10.1016/j.antiviral.2012.11.007. Epub 2012 Nov 28.

The large tumor antigen: a "Swiss Army knife" protein possessing the functions required for the polyomavirus life cycle.

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Rega Institute for Medical Research, KU Leuven, Belgium.


The SV40 large tumor antigen (L-Tag) is involved in the replication and cell transformation processes that take place during the polyomavirus life cycle. The ability of the L-Tag to interact with and to inactivate the tumor suppressor proteins p53 and pRb, makes this polyfunctional protein an interesting target in the search for compounds with antiviral and/or antiproliferative activities designed for the management of polyomavirus-associated diseases. The severe diseases caused by polyomaviruses, mainly in immunocompromised hosts, and the absence of licensed treatments, make the discovery of new antipolyomavirus drugs urgent. Parallels can be made between the SV40 L-Tag and the human papillomavirus (HPV) oncoproteins (E6 and E7) as they are also able to deregulate the cell cycle in order to promote cell transformation and its maintenance. In this review, a presentation of the SV40 L-Tag characteristics, regarding viral replication and cellular transformation, will show how similar these two processes are between the polyoma- and papillomavirus families. Insights at the molecular level will highlight similarities in the binding of polyoma- and papillomavirus replicative helicases to the viral DNA and in their disruptions of the p53 and pRb tumor suppressor proteins.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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