The adenovirus E4 gene, in addition to the E1A gene, is important for trans-activation of E2 transcription and for E2F activation.
Previous experiments have demonstrated that adenovirus infection of human and mouse cells leads to an E1A-dependent activation of the DNA-binding capacity of a cellular transcription factor termed E2F. E2F binds to two sites in the adenovirus E2 early promoter which have been shown to be critical for E1A-dependent E2 early transcription, and the E2F-binding sites can confer E1A-induced transcription to a heterologous promoter. In addition, under a variety of circumstances, the increase in E2F-binding activity coincides with the activation of E2 transcription. We now find that, in addition to the E1A gene, another early viral gene, the E4 gene, is necessary for the activation of E2F-binding activity. Extracts prepared from human 293 cells, which express the E1A and E1B genes, had low levels of E2F activity, whereas infection of 293 cells with the E1A mutant dl312 increased E2F activity. This increase did not occur when 293 cells were infected with dl366, an E4 deletion mutant, nor was there an increase in E2F activity in HeLa cells infected with either dl366 or dl312; however, a coinfection with the two mutants yielded the normal wild-type increase in E2F. Furthermore, infection of HeLa cells with a high multiplicity of dl312, conditions that allow E4 gene expression in the absence of E1A, did not yield an increase in E2F activity. Thus, it appears that both the E1A gene and the E4 gene are directly involved in E2F activation. Measurements of E2 RNA production in a dl366 infection as compared with a wild-type or dl312 infection demonstrate that the E4 gene is essential for full E2 transcription. Furthermore, transfection assays of the E2 promoter demonstrate that, although E1A alone can trans-activate the E2 promoter, it is not as effective as the combination of E1A and E4 in the induction of the E2 promoter. We therefore conclude that the activation of the E2F factor leading to the activation of E2 transcription requires the combined action of both the E1A 289-amino-acid protein and an E4 product.
Reichel, R; Neill, SD; Kovesdi, I; Simon, MC; Raychaudhuri, P; Nevins, JR
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