Simian virus 40 small-t does not transactivate RNA polymerase II promoters in virus infections

Prithi Rajan, Vandana Dhamankar, Kathleen Rundell, Bayar Thimmapaya*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Transcriptional stimulatory properties of virus-encoded transactivators appear to be critical for viral gene expression and may be linked to cellular transformation in certain cases. Recently, the simian virus 40 (SV40) 17-kDa small-t antigen was shown to stimulate transcription of polymerase II and III genes in transient transfection assays. In experiments performed in our laboratory, two of the polymerase II promoters of the adenovirus genome, namely, the EII-early and EIII promoters, were transactivated by the small-t antigen in transient transfection assays. To further elucidate the mechanism of this transactivation, we examined the ability of small-t to transactivate the adenovirus type 5 EII-early and EIII promoters in CV-1 cells under conditions in which the small-t gene or the reporter genes were introduced into the cells through transfection and other routes. In one approach, we used established CV-1 cell lines which constitutively express the small-t gene, and study of the EII-early promoter was afforded by infection of an EIA-negative adenovirus type 5 variant. For the second approach, a recombinant adenovirus was constructed in which small-t was expressed from a replication origin-negative SV40 early promoter in the EIA region of an adenovirus vector (Ad-SV-t). The effect of small-t on adenovirus EII-early and EIII promoter expression was studied in coinfection or single-infection experiments. In both cases, transcription of the adenovirus early promoters was not stimulated by small-t. These and other results indicate that transactivation of polymerase II promoters by small-t occurs only when the target gene is in a transiently transfected state. Thus, small-t-mediated transactivation of polymerase II promoters is dependent on the type of assay system used and may be mechanistically different from that of the widely studied EIA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6553-6561
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of virology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Insect Science
  • Virology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology


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