Binding of cellular proteins to the regulatory region of BK virus DNA

R. B. Markowitz, W. S. Dynan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


The human papovavirus BK has a noncoding regulatory region located between the divergently transcribed early and late coding regions. Many strains of BK virus (BKV) have direct DNA sequence repeats in the regulatory region, although the number and extent of these repeats varies widely between independent isolates. Until recently, little was known about the individual functional elements within the BKV regulatory region, and the biological significance of the variable repeat structure has been unclear. To characterize the interaction between sequences in the BKV regulatory region and host cell transcription factors, we have carried out DNase I footprinting and competitive binding experiments on three strains of BKV, including one strain that does not contain direct sequence repeats. We have used relatively crude fractions from HeLa cell nuclear extracts, as well as DNA affinity-purified preparations of proteins. Our results demonstrate that BK (Dunlop), BK(WW), and BK(MM) each contain multiple binding sites for a factor, NF-BK, that is a member of the nuclear factor 2 family of transcription factors. We predict the presence of three to eight binding sites for NF-BK in the other strains of BKV for which a DNA sequence is available. This suggests that the binding of this protein is likely to be required for biological activity of the virus. In addition to NF-BK sites, BK(WW) and BK(MM) each contain a single binding site for transcription factor Sp1, and BK(Dunlop) contains two binding sites for transcription factor AP-1. The AP-1 sites in BK(Dunlop) span the junction of adjacent direct repeats, suggesting that repeat formation may be an important mechanism for de novo formation of binding sites not present in parental strain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3388-3398
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Virology
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1988
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Insect Science
  • Virology


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