Bühler, Bernhard; Keil, Günther M.; Weiland, Frank; Koszinowski, Ulrich H.
Characterization of the murine cytomegalovirus early transcription unit e1 that is induced by immediate-early proteins.
In: Journal of Virology, Vol. 64: pp. 1907-1919
The regulation of murine cytomegalovirus early (E) gene expression was studied in the cell line B25, which is stably transfected with the immediate-early ie1/ie3 gene complex. Infection of B25 cells in the presence of the protein synthesis inhibitor cycloheximide resulted in the expression of some E genes, whereas for the expression of other E genes prior protein synthesis was still mandatory, thus showing differences in the expression requirements of individual E genes. Transcription unit e1, a member of the E genes induced by immediate-early products of the ie1/ie3 gene complex, was characterized. It is located between map units 0.709 and 0.721 of the genome of murine cytomegalovirus strain Smith. A 2.6-kilobase RNA specified in this region is spliced from three exons of 912, 177, and 1,007 or 1,020 nucleotides, which are separated by introns of 93 and 326 nucleotides. The second AUG located in the first exon 119 nucleotides downstream of the 5' cap site is followed by an open reading frame of 990 nucleotides. The predicted polypeptide of 330 amino acids has a calculated molecular mass of 36.4 kilodaltons. Transfection with e1 revealed three antigenically related proteins of 36, 37, and 38 kilodaltons; these proteins probably represent differently modified forms of the predicted protein. These three proteins are phosphorylated and are associated with intranuclear inclusion bodies. A 33-kilodalton protein also derived from e1 was identified as a product of nonspliced transcripts. Comparison of amino acid sequences revealed homology between the murine cytomegalovirus transcription unit e1 and a human cytomegalovirus E transcription unit.