Expression of RNA and protein from the human cytomegalovirus immediate-early (IE) gene region (map units 0.732 to 0.751) was analyzed at early and late times after infection. The level of RNA present at late times (48 to 72 h after infection) was significantly higher than that present at IE times (5 h after infection). The profile of IE RNA in the cytoplasm of infected cells was different from that previously reported on polysomes (R.M. Stenberg, P.R. Witte, and M.F. Stinski, J. Virol. 56:665-675, 1985). The data indicate that the 1.95-kilobase (kb) major IE region 1 mRNA, which codes for the 72-kilodalton (kDa) protein, and the 1.7-kb IE region 2 (IE2) spliced mRNA, which codes for the IE2 55-kDa protein, may be preferentially associated with polysomes. However, the IE2 2.2-kb unspliced mRNA, which codes for an 86-kDa protein, may be preferentially excluded. This RNA was abundant in the cytoplasm under IE conditions but was not present on polysomes in significant quantities. This indicates that IE gene products may be involved in translational control of cytomegalovirus RNA. At late times, new transcription takes place within region 2. A 1.5-kb RNA is transcribed from a late promoter in region 2 that apparently does not function in cells infected with DNA-negative mutant ts66. These results demonstrate that the IE gene region is transcribed throughout infection and that multiple levels of regulation exist.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science