Nucleic acids research

Cellular and viral chromatin proteins are positive factors in the regulation of adenovirus gene expression.

PMID 20926393


The adenovirus genome forms chromatin-like structure with viral core proteins. This complex supports only a low level of transcription in a cell-free system, and thus core proteins have been thought to be negative factors for transcription. The mechanism how the transcription from the viral DNA complexed with core proteins is activated in infected cells remains unclear. Here, we found that both core proteins and histones are bound with the viral DNA in early phases of infection. We also found that acetylation of histone H3 occurs at the promoter regions of viral active genes in a transcription-independent manner. In addition, when a plasmid DNA complexed with core proteins was introduced into cells, core proteins enhanced transcription. Knockdown of TAF-I, a remodeling factor for viral core protein-DNA complexes, reduces the enhancement effect by core proteins, indicating that core proteins positively regulate viral transcription through the interaction with TAF-I. We would propose a possible mechanism that core proteins ensure transcription by regulating viral chromatin structure through the interaction with TAF-I.