Sequences flanking the pentanucleotide T-antigen binding sites in the polyomavirus core origin help determine selectivity of DNA replication.
Replication of the genomes of the polyomaviruses requires two virus-specified elements, the cis-acting origin of DNA replication, with its auxiliary DNA elements, and the trans-acting viral large tumor antigen (T antigen). Appropriate interactions between them initiate the assembly of a replication complex which, together with cellular proteins, is responsible for primer synthesis and DNA chain elongation. The organization of cis-acting elements within the origins of the polyomaviruses which replicate in mammalian cells is conserved; however, these origins are sufficiently distinct that the T antigen of one virus may function inefficiently or not at all to initiate replication at the origin of another virus. We have studied the basis for such replication selectivity between the murine polyomavirus T antigen and the primate lymphotropic polyomavirus origin. The murine polyomavirus T antigen is capable of carrying out the early steps of the assembly of an initiation complex at the lymphotropic papovavirus origin, including binding to and deformation of origin sequences in vitro. However, the T antigen inefficiently unwinds the origin, and unwinding is influenced by sequences flanking the T antigen pentanucleotide binding sites on the late side of the viral core origin. These same sequences contribute to the replication selectivity observed in vivo and in vitro, suggesting that the inefficient unwinding is the cause of the replication defect. These observations suggest a mechanism by which origins of DNA replication can evolve replication selectivity and by which the function of diverse cellular origins might be temporally activated during the S phase of the eukaryotic cell cycle.
Li, L; Li, BL; Hock, M; Wang, E; Folk, WR
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