The interaction between papillomavirus E1 and E2 proteins is essential for viral genome replication. Using both in vivo and in vitro assays to evaluate the regions of the two proteins necessary for the E1-E2 interaction, three independent interactions were identified for bovine papillomavirus E1:the N terminus of E1 (E1N, residues 1-311) interacts with the E2 transactivation domain (E2TAD) and the E2 DNA-binding domain (E2DBD) and the C terminus of E1 (E1C, residues 315-605) interacts with E2. Nine mutations within E1N were evaluated for their effects on E2 interaction. Five mutations eliminated interaction with the E2TAD; four of these were located within two previously identified conserved, hydrophilic regions, HR1 and HR3. Since HR1 and HR3 residues appear to comprise the origin of replication recognition element for E1, simultaneous interaction with the E2TAD during initiation complex formation would seem unlikely. Consistent with this inference is the fact that three of the five mutants defective for E2TAD binding exhibited wild-type levels of replication. The replication-positive phenotype of these mutants suggests that the E1N-E2TAD interaction is not essential for replication function and is probably involved in some other E1-E2 function, such as regulating transcription. Only one of the five mutations defective for E2TAD binding also prevented E2DBD interaction, indicating that the regions of E1N that interact with the E2TAD and the E2DBD are not identical. The ability of E1N to cooperatively interact with E2 bound to E2-binding site (E2BS) 11 versus E2BS 12 was also examined, and cooperative binding was only observed when E2 was bound to E2BS 12.
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