Activation of transcription of the human cytomegalovirus early UL4 promoter by the Ets transcription factor binding element
Chen, J.; Stinski, M.F.
Journal of Virology 74(21): 9845-9857
The human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) early UL4 promoter has served as a useful model for studying the activation of early viral gene expression. Previous transient-transfection experiments detected cis-acting elements (the NF-Y site and site 2) upstream of the transcriptional start site (L. Huang and M. F. Stinski, J. Virol. 69:7612-7621, 1995). The roles of two of these sites, the NF-Y site and site 2, in the context of the viral genome were investigated further by comparing mRNA levels from the early UL4 promoter in human foreskin fibroblasts infected by recombinant viruses with either wild-type or mutant cis-acting elements. Steady-state mRNA levels from the UL4 promoter with a mutation in the NF-Y site were comparable to that of wild type. A mutation in an Elk-1 site plus putative IE86 protein binding sites decreased the steady-state mRNA levels compared to the wild type at early times after infection. Electrophoretic mobility shift assays and antibody supershifts detected the binding of cellular transcription factor Elk-1 to site 2 DNA with infected nuclear extracts but not with mock-infected nuclear extracts. The role of cellular transcription factors activated by the mitogen activated protein kinase/extracellular signal-regulated kinase pathway in activating transcription from early viral promoters is discussed.