Functional and defective components of avian endogenous virus long terminal repeat enhancer sequences

Donald E. Habel, Kirstin L. Dohrer, Kathleen F. Conklin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Oncogenic avian retroviruses, such as Rous sarcoma virus (RSV) and the avian leukosis viruses, contain a strong enhancer in the U3 portion of the proviral long terminal repeat (LTR). The LTRs of a second class of avian retroviruses, the endogenous viruses (ev) lack detectable enhancer activity. By creating ev-RSV hybrid LTRs, we previously demonstrated that, despite the lack of independent enhancer activity in the ev U3 region, ev LTRs contain sequences that are able to functionally replace essential enhancer domains from the RSV enhancer. A hypothesis proposed to explain these data was that ev LTRs contain a partial enhancer that includes sequences necessary but not sufficient for enhancer activity and that these sequences were comple-mented by RSV enhancer domains present in the original hybrid constructs to generate a functional enhancer. Studies described in this report were designed to define sequences from both the ev and RSV LTRs required to generate this composite enhancer. This was approached by generating additional ev-RSV hybrid LTRs that exchanged defined regions between ev and RSV and by directly testing the requirement for specific motifs by site-directed mutagenesis. Results obtained demonstrate that ev enhancer sequences are present in the same relative location as upstream enhancer sequences from RSV, with which they share limited sequence similarity. In addition, a 67-bp region from the internal portion of the RSV LTR that is required to complement ev enhancer sequences was identified. Finally, data showing that CArG motifs are essential for high-level activity, a finding that has not been previously demonstrated for retroviral LTRs, are presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1545-1554
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of virology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1993


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