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Mol Cell Biol. 1998 Mar;18(3):1746-56.

Novel mechanisms of E2F induction by BK virus large-T antigen: requirement of both the pRb-binding and the J domains.

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Graduate Program in Cellular and Molecular Biology, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor 48109-0942, USA.


E2F activity is regulated in part by the retinoblastoma family of tumor suppressor proteins. Viral oncoproteins, such as simian virus 40 (SV40) large-T antigen (TAg), adenovirus E1A, and human papillomavirus E7, can disrupt the regulation of cellular proliferation by binding to pRb family members and dissociating E2F-pRb family protein complexes. BK virus (BKV), which infects a large percentage of the human population and has been associated with a variety of human tumors, encodes a TAg homologous to SV40 TAg. It has been shown that BKV TAg, when expressed at low levels, does not detectably bind to pRb family members, yet it induces a serum-independent phenotype and causes a decrease in the overall levels of pRb family proteins. The experiments presented in this report show that, despite the lack of TAg-pRb interactions, BKV TAg can induce transcriptionally active E2F and that this induction does in fact require an intact pRb-binding domain as well as an intact J domain. In addition, E2F-pRb family member complexes can be detected in both BKV and SV40 TAg-expressing cells. These results suggest the presence of alternate cellular mechanisms for the release of E2F in addition to the well-established model for TAg-pRb interactions. These results also emphasize a role for BKV TAg in the deregulation of cellular proliferation, which may ultimately contribute to neoplasia.

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