Adenovirus transcription. V. Quantitation of viral RNA sequences in adenovirus 2-infected and transformed cells

S. J. Flint, Phillip A. Sharp

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62 Scopus citations


The concentrations, in copies per cell, of viral RNA sequences complementary to different regions of the genome were determined at 8, 18 and 32 hours after infection of human cells with adenovirus type 2: separated strands of fragments of 32P-labelled adenovirus 2 DNA, generated by cleavage with restriction endonucleases EcoR1, Hpa1 and BamH1, were added to reaction mixtures at sufficient concentrations to drive hybridizations with infected or transformed cell RNA. Under these conditions, the fraction of 32P-labelled DNA entering hybrid is directly proportional to the absolute amount of complementary RNA in the reaction. At 8 hours after infection in the presence of cytosine arabinoside, "early" viral messenger RNA sequences are present at a frequency of 300 to 1000 copies per cell. The abundance of early mRNA sequences in different lines of adenovirus 2-transformed rat cells is markedly lower than their concentration in lytically infected cells. Moreover, the abundance of early mRNA in a given transformed rat cell line reflects the number of copies of its template DNA sequences per diploid quantity of cell DNA. After the onset of the late phase of the lytic cycle, the abundance of one early mRNA species, that coding for a single-stranded DNA binding protein required for viral DNA replication, is amplified. Viral RNA sequences complementary to regions of the genome coding for other early mRNA sequences remain at the level observed at 8 hours after infection. Exclusively "late" viral mRNA sequences are present over a range of concentrations, 500 to 10,000 copies per cell, depending on the region of the genome. By 18 hours after infection, the nucleus contains approximately three times as much total, viral RNA as the cytoplasm. The abundant nuclear, viral RNA sequences at 18 hours are transcribed from a contiguous region, 65% of the genome in length. In some cases, viral RNA sequences complementary to mRNA sequences are very abundant in the nucleus. When cytoplasmic and nuclear fractions are mixed and incubated under annealing conditions, some mRNA sequences will anneal with more abundant, anti-messenger nuclear RNA sequences to form double-stranded RNA. Such annealing of nuclear, viral RNA to early, cytoplasmic mRNA sequences probably accounts for the inability to detect, by filter hybridization, certain classes of early mRNA sequences during the late stage of infection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)749-771
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Molecular Biology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 25 1976

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Biology


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