Comparisons between murine polyomavirus and simian virus 40 show significant differences in small T antigen function

Shaida Andrabi, Justin H. Hwang, Jennifer Kean Choe, Thomas M. Roberts, Brian S. Schaffhausen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Although members of a virus family produce similar gene products, those products may have quite different functions. Simian virus 40 (SV40) large T antigen (LT), for example, targets p53 directly, but murine polyomavirus LT does not. SV40 small T antigen (SVST) has received considerable attention because of its ability to contribute to transformation of human cells. Here, we show that there are major differences between SVST and polyomavirus small T antigen (POLST) in their effects on differentiation, transformation, and cell survival. Both SVST and POLST induce cell cycle progression. However, POLST also inhibits differentiation of 3T3-L1 preadipocytes and C2C12 myoblasts. Additionally, POLST induces apoptosis of mouse embryo fibroblasts. SVST reduces the proapoptotic transcriptional activity of FOXO1 through phosphorylation. On the other hand, SVST complements large T antigen and Ras for the transformation of human mammary epithelial cells (HMECs), but POLST does not. Mechanistically, the differences between SVST and POLST may lie in utilization of protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A). POLST binds both Aα and Aβ scaffolding subunits of PP2A while SVST binds only Aα. Knockdown of Aβ could mimic POLST-induced apoptosis. The two small T antigens can target different proteins for dephosphorylation. POLST binds and dephosphorylates substrates, such as lipins, that SVST does not.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10649-10658
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of virology
Issue number20
StatePublished - Oct 2011
Externally publishedYes


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