Topoisomerase I and II cleavage of adenovirus DNA in vivo: Both topoisomerase activities appear to be required for adenovirus DNA replication

Jerome Schaack, Paul Schedl, Thomas Shenk

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41 Scopus citations


Sites of topoisomerase I and II cleavage across large portions of the adenovirus type 5 genome were mapped by using the drugs camptothecin and VM26, respectively. These drugs prolong the half-lives of the covalent DNA-protein intermediates in which the DNA is transiently cleaved, and so treatment with protein denaturants after exposure to the drugs leads to DNA strand scission at the site of topoisomerase cleavage. Strong topoisomerase II cleavage sites occurred in clusters throughout the regions examined, including both transcribed regions and transcriptional control regions. The efficiency of topoisomerase II cleavage increased as the rate of adenovirus DNA replication increased and then decreased with the decreasing rate of replication late in the infection cycle. The increase was not dependent on expression of the E1A gene, whose products activate transcription of the early viral genes. Positions of topoisomerase II cleavage sites did not vary during the infection. Topoisomerase I cleavage sites were also found throughout the examined regions, with the strongest sites occurring near the ends of the transcription units. Topoisomerase I cleavage in the E1 region occurred much more frequently than topoisomerase II cleavage, was not dependent on E1A gene expression, and remained at a similar level from the early viral phase into the late viral phase. Treatment of infected cells with either drug prevented efficient replication of adenovirus DNA. Inhibition of topoisomerase I activity led to an immediate cessation of adenovirus DNA replication, white inhibition of topoisomerase II blocked replication only after completion of approximately one additional round.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)78-85
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of virology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1990

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Insect Science
  • Virology


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