Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Journal of Virology


Geisel School of Medicine


Infection of quiescent cells with the DNA tumor virus simian virus 40 induces expression of the cellular thymidine kinase (TK) gene a minimum of 10- to 20-fold, and this induction depends upon the viral protein large T antigen (T-Ag). To define both human TK promoter elements and T-Ag functional domains required for transcriptional induction, we have established a system in which stable Rat-1 transfectants harboring TK promoter-luciferase hybrid genes are infected with recombinant adenoviruses expressing either wild-type or mutant forms of T-Ag and luciferase expression is measured as an indicator of promoter activity. The results show that (i) a 135-bp TK promoter fragment is activated 10- to 15-fold by viral infection; (ii) this activation is the result of both T-Ag-dependent and -independent mechanisms; (iii) the T-Ag pRb family-binding domain, but not the p53-binding, helicase, or ATPase domain, is required for activation; and (iv) activation is severely diminished with a TK promoter fragment in which E2F-like-binding sites have been removed. These data demonstrate a requirement for both an E2F-related factor and a pRb family member in activation of the TK promoter by T-Ag. This contrasts with the promiscuous activation of many cellular and viral genes by T-Ag, which is independent of its ability to bind pRb.

Original Citation

Anderson MM, Chen J, Cole CN, Conrad SE. Activation of the human thymidine kinase (TK) promoter by simian virus 40 large T antigen requires both the T antigen pRb family-binding domain and TK promoter sequences resembling E2F-binding sites. J Virol. 1996;70(9):6304-6313. doi:10.1128/JVI.70.9.6304-6313.1996