The transcriptional transactivator of simian foamy virus 1 binds to a DNA target element in the viral internal promoter

June X Zou, Paul A Luciw

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29 Scopus citations


The transcriptional transactivator (Tas) of simian foamy virus type 1 strongly augments gene expression directed by both the promoter in the viral long terminal repeat and the newly discovered internal promoter located within the env gene. A region of 121 hp, located immediately 5' to the TATA box in the internal promoter, is required for transactivation by Tas. The present study aimed to identify the precise Tas-responsive target(s) in this region and to determine the role of Tas in transcriptional regulation. By analysis of both clustered-site mutations and hybrid promoters in transient expression assays in murine and simian cells, two separate sequence elements within this 121-bp region were shown to be Tas-dependent transcriptional enhancers. These targets, each <30 bp in length and displaying no apparent sequence homology one to the other, are designated the promoter-proximal and promoter-distal elements. By means of the gel electrophoresis mobility-shift assay, using purified glutathione S-transferase-Tas fusion protein expressed in Escherichia coli, the target proximal to the TATA box exhibited strong binding to glutathione S-transferase-Tas, whereas the distal element appears not to bind. In addition, footprint analysis revealed that 26 bp in the promoter proximal element was protected by glutathione S-transferase-Tas from DNase I. We propose a model for transactivation of the simian foamy virus type 1 internal promoter in which Tas interacts directly with the proximal target element positioned immediately 5' to the TATA box. In this model, Tas attached to this element is presumed to interact with a component(s) of the cellular RNA polymerase II initiation complex and thereby enhance transcription directed by the viral internal promoter.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)326-330
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 9 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • General


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