Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Journal of Virology


Geisel School of Medicine


The ability of DNA tumor virus proteins to trigger apoptosis in mammalian cells is well established. For example, transgenic expression of a simian virus 40 (SV40) T-antigen N-terminal fragment (N-termTag) is known to induce apoptosis in choroid plexus epithelial cells. SV40 T-antigen-induced apoptosis has generally been considered to be a p53-dependent event because cell death in the brain is greatly diminished in a p53-/- background strain and is abrogated by expression of wild-type (p53-binding) SV40 T antigen. We now show that while N-termTags triggered apoptosis in rat embryo fibroblasts cultured in low serum, expression of full-length T antigens unable to bind p53 [mut(p53-)Tags] protected against apoptosis without causing transformation. One domain essential for blocking apoptosis by T antigen was mapped to amino acids 525 to 541. This domain has >60% homology with a domain of adenovirus type 5 E1B 19K required to prevent E1A-induced apoptosis. In the context of both wild-type T antigen and mut(p53-)Tags, mutation of two conserved amino acids in this region eliminated T antigen's antiapoptotic activity in REF-52 cells. These data suggest that SV40 T antigen contains a novel functional domain involved in preventing apoptosis independently of inactivation of p53.

Original Citation

Conzen SD, Snay CA, Cole CN. Identification of a novel antiapoptotic functional domain in simian virus 40 large T antigen. J Virol. 1997;71(6):4536-4543. doi:10.1128/JVI.71.6.4536-4543.1997