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Virology. 1998 Jul 5;246(2):400-8.

The acidic domain of pUL37x1 and gpUL37 plays a key role in transactivation of HCMV DNA replication gene promoter constructions.

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Children's Research Institute, Children's National Medical Center, Washington, DC 20010,


Transient complementation of human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) oriLyt DNA replication in permissive human diploid cells expressing replication genes under native promoters requires its UL36-38 gene products. Two of the immediate early (IE) proteins encoded by this locus, pUL37x1 and, to a lesser extent, gpUL37, activated expression of HCMV early gene promoter constructions. The other IE protein encoded by the UL36-38 locus, pUL36, and the early product, pUL38, did not transactivate the HCMV early promoter constructions under similar conditions. The acidic domain, common to both pUL37x1 and gpUL37, is required for activation of HCMV early promoter constructions. Conversely, gpUL37 sequences downstream of amino acid 199 are not required for transactivation of viral early promoters. Taken together, these results suggest that the requirement for UL36-38 products for HCMV DNA replication results, at least in part, from the requirement of the transactivation of HCMV early DNA replication promoters by pUL37x1 and, to a lesser extent, by gpUL37 and that the acidic domain is critical for this activity.

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