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J Virol. 1996 Jun;70(6):3628-35.

Cellular or viral protein binding to a cytomegalovirus promoter transcription initiation site: effects on transcription.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology, College of Medicine, University of Iowa, Iowa City 52242, USA.


We have previously shown that the IE2 protein of human cytomegalovirus (CMV) represses its own synthesis by binding to the major immediate-early promoter (M. P. Macias and M. F. Stinski, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 90:707-711, 1993). The binding of a viral protein (IE2) and a cellular protein in the region of the transcription start site was investigated by site-specific mutational analysis and electrophoretic mobility shift assay. The viral protein and the cellular protein require different but adjacent core DNA sequence elements for binding. In situ chemical footprinting analysis of DNA-protein interactions with purified CMV IE2 protein or HeLa cell nuclear extracts demonstrated binding sites that overlap the transcription start site. The IE2 protein footprint was between bp -15 and +2, relative to the transcription start site, and the cellular protein was between bp -16 and +7. The ability of the unknown human cellular protein of approximately 150 kDa to bind the CMV major immediate-early promoter correlates with an increase in the level of transcription efficiency. Mutations in the core DNA sequence element for cellular protein binding significantly reduced the level of in vitro transcription efficiency. Mutations upstream and downstream of the core sequence moderately reduced the transcription efficiency level. Negative autoregulation of the CMV promoter by the viral IE2 protein may involve both binding to the DNA template and interference with the function of a cellular protein that binds to the transcription start site and enhances transcription efficiency.

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