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J Virol. 1998 Oct;72(10):8413-9.

Effect of vesicular stomatitis virus matrix protein on transcription directed by host RNA polymerases I, II, and III.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina 27157, USA.


The matrix (M) protein of vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) functions in virus assembly and inhibits host-directed gene expression independently of other viral components. Experiments in this study were carried out to determine the ability of M protein to inhibit transcription directed by each of the three host RNA polymerases (RNA polymerase I [RNAPI], RNAPII, and RNAPIII). The effects of wild-type (wt) VSV, v6 (a VSV mutant isolated from persistently infected cells), and tsO82 viruses on poly(A)+ and poly(A)- RNA synthesis were measured by incorporation of [3H]uridine. v6 and tsO82 viruses, which contain M-gene mutations, had a decreased ability to inhibit synthesis of both poly(A)+ and poly(A)- RNA. Nuclear runoff analysis showed that VSV inhibited transcription of 18S rRNA and alpha-tubulin genes, which was dependent on RNAPI and RNAPII, respectively, but infection with wt virus enhanced transcription of 5S rRNA by RNAPIII. The effect of M protein alone on transcription by RNAPI-, RNAPII-, and RNAPIII-dependent promoters was measured by cotransfection assays. M protein inhibited transcription from RNAPI- and RNAPII-dependent promoters in the absence of other viral gene products. RNAPIII-dependent transcription of the adenovirus VA promoters was also inhibited by M protein. However, as observed during wt VSV infection, M protein enhanced endogenous 5S rRNA transcription, indicating that the inhibition of transcription by RNAPIII was dependent on the nature of the promoter.

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