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Mol Cell Biol. 1986 Sep;6(9):3180-90.

Binding of polyomavirus large T antigen to the human hsp70 promoter is not required for trans activation.


Polyomavirus large T antigen binds to two sites located between positions -110 and -170 of a human heat shock protein 70 (hsp70) promoter. Methylation interference studies show that binding for each site is determined by two GPuGGC pentanucleotide sequences. The specificity of this binding interaction is similar to that observed for large T binding to the viral genome. The existence of sequences that bind a viral protein in a cellular promoter raises the possibility that these sequences play a role in gene expression in an uninfected cell. We show that hsp70 large T antigen binding site 1 is capable of functioning as an upstream promoter element in cells that do not contain any viral T antigen. Genetic analysis of this effect suggests that a cellular factor exists that has a binding specificity that overlaps but is not identical to that of polyomavirus large T antigen. To determine whether binding of polyomavirus large T antigen can regulate expression of the intact human hsp70 promoter, we have introduced the promoter into mouse cells with plasmids that express the polyomavirus early proteins. These proteins stimulate the level of correctly initiated hsp70 transcripts, but surprisingly the degree of stimulation remains unchanged for promoter constructs in which the large T antigen binding sites have been deleted. These observations suggest that trans activation of the hsp70 promoter by the polyomavirus early proteins occurs through protein-protein interactions and not through sequence-specific DNA binding.

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