Expression of the immediate-early (IE) genes of herpes simplex virus (HSV) is specifically stimulated by a 65-kilodalton virion transcription factor (VF65 or VP16) that is introduced as a component of infecting virions. In both the IE175(ICP4) and IE110(ICP0) promoters, this activation requires a upstream cis-acting target response element that contains a single TAATGARAT consensus element. Furthermore, many HSV IE TAATGARAT elements overlap with ATGCTAAT octamer motifs that are similar to the OTF-1-binding sites found in both immunoglobulin and histone H2b genes and to the nuclear factor III (NFIII)-binding site within the adenovirus type 2 origin of DNA replication. Purified HeLa cell NFIII protein proved to form specific DNA-protein complexes with several upstream regions from both the IE110 and IE175 promoters, and this interaction was subject to efficient competition with an adenovirus type 2 DNA fragment containing an intact NFIII-binding site. Surprisingly, the NFIII protein bound to synthetic oligonucleotides containing only the TAATGARAT consensus elements as well as to those containing the ATGCTAAT octamer sequence, although the former exhibited lower affinity and gave complexes with slightly different electrophoretic mobility. The ATGCTAAT oligonucleotide also competed more efficiently than the TAATGARAT sequence itself for binding to a TAATGARAT probe, indicating that the same protein species binds to both sites. The oligonucleotides also formed novel supershifted complexes with lysed virion proteins, but only in the presence of a crude nuclear extract and not with affinity-purified NFIII alone. We conclude that the cellular NFIII protein can recognize both the ATGCTAAT and TAATGARAT elements independently but that only the interaction with TAATGARAT represents an intermediate step in the transcriptional stimulation of IE genes by the HSV virion factor.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science