Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 1978 Jan;75(1):117-21
The early region of simian virus 40 codes for at least two immunologically related polypeptides: large-T and small-t, with apparent molecular weights of 90,000-100,000 and 15,000-20,000, respectively. Because small-t shares methionine-containing tryptic peptides with large-T, the two polypeptides are probably coded, in part, by a common nucleotide sequence. To locate the coding sequences for large-T and small-t in the DNA, the production of these proteins was examined after infection of CV-1 cells with wild-type and deletion mutants of simian virus 40. We found that a deletion at the distal portion of the early region alters the structure of large-T but not of small-t; but deletions within the region between map coordinates 0.59 and 0.55 result in an alteration or absence of small-t and a normal large-T. These findings have been rationalized by a model that proposes the existence of two early mRNAs, one coding for large-T and the other for small-t. Both mRNAs span virtually the entire early region; but the mRNA coding for large-T lacks the nucleotide sequence between map coordinates 0.59 and 0.54. We suggest that small-t is translated from the larger of the two mRNAs, beginning at or near its 5' end and terminating at a termination codon at about map coordinate 0.54. Larger-T, on the other hand, is translated from the shorter mRNA, beginning at the same initiator codon, and, because of the deletion of the terminator codon at 0.54, translation proceeds to the terminator codon at or near map position 0.18.