Host-specific activation of transcription by tandem repeats from simian virus 40 and Moloney murine sarcoma virus

L. A. Laimins, G. Khoury, C. Gorman, B. Howard, P. Gruss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

266 Scopus citations


The simian virus (SV40) 72-base pair (bp) tandem repeated sequences have recently been shown to function as activators or enhancers of early viral transcription. A recombinant viral gensome was recently constructed by inserting 72-bp tandem repeats from the Moloney murine sarcoma virus (MSV) in place of the 72-bp repeats of SV40. Although this genome replicates in monkey kidney cells, its rate of large tumor antigen expression and replication is considerably slower than that of wild-type SV40. In mouse cells, however, equivalent levels of large tumor antigen appear to be expressed from both wild-type and recombinant genomes, suggesting a relationship between the level of enhancer activity and the host cell. To confirm this observation, we have applied a sensitive quantitative assay for gene expression based on the conversion of chloramphenicol to its acetylated forms. The gene encoding the enzymatic function chloramphenicol acetyltransferase was inserted into two vectors in which the enhancer sequences from SV40 or MSV were placed adjacent to the early SV40 promoter. The SV40 tandem repeats appear to activate gene expression to significantly higher levels in monkey kidney cells, but the MSV repeats are more active in two lines of mouse cells. These findings suggest that the tandem repeat elements may interact with host-specific molecules and, furthermore, may constitute one of the elements determining the host range of these eukaryotic viruses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6453-6457
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number21 I
StatePublished - 1982

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