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J Virol. 1994 Dec;68(12):8288-95.

Stimulation of the adenovirus major late promoter in vitro by transcription factor USF is enhanced by the adenovirus DNA binding protein.

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Laboratory for Physiological Chemistry, University of Utrecht, The Netherlands.


Previous studies have shown that the sequence-independent adenovirus DNA binding protein (DBP) increases transcription from several promoters, notably from the adenovirus major late promoter (MLP) and the adeno-associated virus P5 promoter, both of which contain a USF/MLTF binding site. In order to study this mechanism, we have investigated the effects of DBP on the binding of USF/MLTF to MLP and on transcription from MLP by a reconstituted in vitro system. As shown by gel retardation and DNase I footprinting, upon saturation of DNA, DBP enhances the binding affinity of USF43 to the promoter three- to fourfold without changing the footprint pattern. In contrast, the binding of the TATA box binding protein to the promoter is not influenced by DBP. No protein-protein interactions between DBP and USF43 could be observed in the absence of DNA, suggesting that enhanced binding is caused by a change in DNA structure induced by the DBP-DNA complex. Employing a transcription system reconstituted with purified general transcription factors, we show that USF43 enhances basal transcription and that USF43-dependent transcription is further increased by DBP, while DBP alone does not have an effect on basal transcription. Our results suggest that transcription enhancement by DBP is based on a specific increase in the binding of a transcription factor to a promoter through subtle changes in DNA structure, similar to the mechanism by which DBP stimulates the initiation of DNA replication.

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