Activation of adenovirus promoters by the adenovirus E1A protein in cell-free extracts

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Science  28 Aug 1987:
Vol. 237, Issue 4818, pp. 1044-1046
DOI: 10.1126/science.2956686


The primary product of the adenovirus E1A gene is a protein that is sufficient for controlling host-cell proliferation and immortalizing primary rodent cells. The mechanism by which the protein induces these cellular effects is poorly understood, but might be linked to its ability to regulate RNA transcription from a number of viral and cellular genes. The mechanism of E1A's transcriptional-activation (trans-activation) was studied here by monitoring the protein's effect on specific adenovirus promoters in two types of transcriptional systems in vitro. One of these systems consisted of extracts from transformed cells constitutively expressing E1A, and the other consisted of extracts of HeLa cells supplemented with a plasmid-encoded E1A protein purified from Escherichia coli. The results show that the E1A protein specifically stimulates transcription from adenovirus promoters; thus, the induction of cellular transcription factors is not necessary to explain the stimulation of transcription by E1A.