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J Virol. 1997 Nov;71(11):8743-9.

The N-terminal side of the origin-binding domain of simian virus 40 large T antigen is involved in A/T untwisting.

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Department of Biological Sciences, University of Delaware, Newark 19716, USA.


We investigated the role of the N-terminal side of simian virus 40 (SV40) large T antigen's origin-binding domain in the initiation of virus DNA replication by analyzing the biochemical activities of mutants containing single point substitutions or deletions in this region. Four mutants with substitutions at residues between 121 and 135 were partially defective in untwisting the A/T-rich track on the late side of the origin but were normal in melting the imperfect palindrome (IP) region on the early side. Deletion of the N-terminal 109 amino acids had no effect on either activity, whereas a longer deletion, up to residue 123, greatly reduced A/T untwisting but not IP melting. These results indicate that the region from residue 121 to 135 is important for A/T untwisting but not for IP melting and demonstrate that these activities are separable. Two point substitution mutants (126PS and 135PL) were characterized further by testing them for origin DNA binding, origin unwinding, oligomerization, and helicase activity. These two mutants were completely defective in origin (form U(R)) unwinding but normal in the other activities. Our results demonstrate that a failure to normally untwist the A/T track is correlated with a defect in origin unwinding. Further, they indicate that some mutants with substitutions in the region from residue 121 to 135 interact with origin DNA incorrectly, perhaps by failing to make appropriate contacts with the A/T-rich DNA.

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