Regulation of the varicella-zoster virus ORF3 promoter by cellular and viral factors.

Virology 2013 Jun 21;440(2):171-81. Epub 2013 Mar 21.

Departments of Pediatrics and Microbiology & Immunology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA 94305, United States.

The varicella zoster virus (VZV) immediate early 62 protein (IE62) activates most if not all identified promoters of VZV genes and also some minimum model promoters that contain only a TATA box element. Analysis of the DNA elements that function in IE62 activation of the VZV ORF3 promoter revealed that the 100 nucleotides before the translation start site of the ORF3 gene contains the promoter elements. This promoter lacks any functional TATA box element. Cellular transcription factors Sp1, Sp3 and YY1 bind to the promoter, and mutation of their binding sites inhibited ORF3 gene expression. VZV regulatory proteins, IE63 and ORF29, ORF61 and ORF10 proteins inhibited IE62-mediated activation of this promoter. Mutation of the Sp1/Sp3 binding site in the VZV genome did not alter VZV replication kinetics. This work suggests that Sp family proteins contribute to the activation of VZV promoters by IE62 in the absence of functional TATA box.

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