Suppressor mutations within the core binding factor (CBF/AML1) binding site of a T-cell lymphomagenic retrovirus

Marita J. Martiney, Laura S. Levy, Jack Lenz

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Abstract

The transcriptional enhancer of the lymphomagenic mouse retrovirus SL3 contains a binding site for the transcription factor core binding factor (CBF; also called AML1, PEBP2, and SEF1). The SL3 CBF binding site is called the core. It differs from the core of the weakly lymphomagenic mouse retrovirus Akv by one nucleotide (the sequences are TGTGGTTAA and TGTGGTCAA, respectively). A mutant virus called SAA that was identical to SL3 except that its core was mutated to the Akv sequence was only moderately attenuated for lymphomagenicity. In most SAA-infected mice, tumor proviruses contained either reversions of the original mutation or one of two novel core sequences. In 20% of the SAA-infected mice, tumor proviruses retained the original SAA/Akv core mutation but acquired one of two additional mutations (underlined), TGCGGTCAA or TGTGGTCTA, that generated core elements called So and T*, respectively. We tested whether the novel base changes in the So and T* cores were suppressor mutations. SL3 mutants that contained So or T* cores in place of the wild-type sequence were generated. These viruses induced T-cell lymphomas in mice more quickly than SAA. Therefore, the mutations in the So and T* cores are indeed second-site suppressor mutations. The suppressor mutations increased CBF binding in vitro and transcriptional activity of the viral long terminal repeats (LTRs) in T lymphocytes to levels comparable to those of SL3. Thus, CBF binding was increased by any of three different nucleotide changes within the sequence of the SAA core. Increased CBF binding resulted in increased LTR transcriptional activity in T cells and in increased viral lymphomagenicity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2143-2152
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of virology
Volume73
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 4 1999

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Insect Science
  • Virology

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