Multiple Bidirectional Initiations and Terminations of Transcription in the Marek's Disease Virus Long Repeat Regions

Xinbin Chen, Leland F. Velicer

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22 Scopus citations


Marek's disease is an oncogenic disease of chickens caused by a herpesvirus, Marek's disease virus (MDV). Serial in vitro passage of pathogenic MDV results in amplification of a 132-bp direct repeat in the MDV genome's TRL and IRL repeat regions and loss of tumorigenicity. This led to the hypothesis that upon such expansion, one or more tumor-inducing genes fail to be expressed. In this report, a group of cDNAs mapping in the expanded regions were isolated from a pathogenic MDV strain in which the 132-bp direct repeat number was found to range between one and seven. Partial cDNA sequencing and S1 nuclease protection analysis revealed that the corresponding transcripts are either initiated or terminated within or near the expanded regions at multiple sites in both rightward and leftward directions. Furthermore, each 132-bp repeat contains one TATA box and two polyadenylation consensus sequences in each direction. These RNAs contain a partial copy or one or more full copies of the 132-bp direct repeat at either their 5′ or 3′ end. Northern (RNA) blot analysis showed that the majority of transcripts are 1.8 kb in size, while the minor species range in size from 0.67 to 3.1 kb. Together, these data raise the possibility that the 132-bp direct repeat, and indirectly its copy number, may be involved in the regulation of transcriptional initiation and termination and therefore in the generation of four groups of transcripts from the TRL and IRL, although this remains to be demonstrated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2445-2451
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Virology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1991
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology


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