Early region IA of human adenoviruses encodes a function required for normal induction of early viral genes and virus-induced cell transformation. The region is expressed at early times as two overlapping spliced mRNAs, 12S and 13S, which encode closely related proteins. To distinguish between the functions of these proteins, a single T → G transversion was constructed which prevents splicing of the 12S mRNA. This transversion, in the second base of the 12S mRNA intron, does not alter the protein encoded by the 13S mRNA due to degeneracy in the genetic code. Studies with this mutant demonstrated that only the 13S mRNA encodes the regulatory protein required for normal early gene expression.
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