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Efficient expression of small rna polymerase iii genes from a novel sv 40 vector and their effect on viral gene expression



Efficient expression of small rna polymerase iii genes from a novel sv 40 vector and their effect on viral gene expression



Nucleic Acids Research 17(3): 1159-1176



In the past, simian virus 40 (SV40) has been used as cloning vehicle to clone foreign genes by substituting portions of the viral genome vital for viral replication. Propagation of these defective viruses required a helper virus and the recombinant viruses obtained could be grown only as a mixture. In this study, we describe a novel nondefective SV40 vector to clone small RNA polymerase III genes. Two small RNA polymerase III genes, an amber suppressor human serine tRNA gene and the adenovirus (Ad) VAI RNA gene, were cloned in the intron region of the large-T antigen gene of SV40 after deleting DNA sequences coding for the small-t polypeptide. The recombinant viruses grew to wild type levels and showed no growth defects. When CV-1p cells were infected with these viruses, the cloned RNA polymerase III genes were expressed at high levels at late times. Interestingly, large amounts VAI RNA in CV-1p cells infected with SV40-VA recombinant virus, did not enhance translation of viral mRNAs significantly but did lead to a 3 to 4 fold increase in the steady state levels of large-T mRNA suggesting a novel function for VAI RNA in SV40 infected monkey cells. Furthermore, VAI mutants which fail to function in Ad infected human cells also failed to enhance the levels of large-T mRNAs in monkey cells infected with SV40. The simple SV40 vector described here may be useful to study the structure and function of small RNA polymerase III genes in the context of a eucaryotic chromosome. In addition, the nondefective recombinant SV40 which expresses the suppressor tRNA gene at high levels may provide a useful helper system to propagate animal viruses with amber mutations in essential genes.

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