The Human Adenovirus Type 5 L4 Promoter Is Negatively Regulated by TFII-I and L4-33K
Wright J., Atwan Z., Morris SJ., Leppard KN.
ABSTRACT The late phase of adenovirus gene expression is controlled by proteins made in the intermediate phase, including L4 proteins of 22,000- and 33,000-Da apparent molecular mass (L4-22K and -33K proteins) that are expressed initially from the L4 promoter (L4P). The L4P is activated by a combination of viral proteins and cellular p53 and is ultimately inhibited again by its own products. Here, we have examined the L4P of human adenovirus type 5 in detail and have defined its transcription start site, which our data suggest is positioned by a weak TATA box. Rather than contributing positively to promoter activity, a putative initiator element at the transcription start site acts as a target for negative regulation imposed on the L4P by cellular TFII-I. We show that this TFII-I inhibition is relieved by one of the previously defined viral activators of the L4P, the E4 Orf3 protein, which alters the pool of TFII-I in the cell. We also explore further the negative regulation of the L4P by its products and show that the L4-33K protein is more significant in this process than L4-22K. It is the combined actions of positive and negative factors that lead to the transient activation of the L4P at the onset of the late phase of adenovirus gene expression. IMPORTANCE The adenovirus replication cycle proceeds through multiple phases of gene expression in which a key step is the activation of late-phase gene expression to produce proteins from which progeny particles can be formed. Working with human adenovirus type 5, we showed previously that two proteins expressed from the L4 region of the viral genome perform essential roles in moving the infection on into the late phase; these two proteins are produced by the action of a dedicated promoter, the L4P, and without them the infection does not proceed successfully to progeny generation. In this new work, we delineate further aspects of L4P activity and regulation. Understanding how the L4P works, and how it contributes to activation of the late phase of infection, is important to our understanding of natural infections by the virus, in which late gene expression can fail to occur, allowing the virus to persist.