Analysis of a 5,549-base-pair sequence at the left end of herpesvirus saimiri unique (L-) DNA revealed two open reading frames and genes for five small nuclear U RNAs (herpesvirus saimiri U RNAs). Replication-competent deletion mutants were constructed in order to assess the importance of these genetic features for transformation by this oncogenic herpesvirus. Although not required for replication, one of the open reading frames was found to be required for immortalization of marmoset T lymphocytes into continuously growing cell lines. The protein predicted by this reading frame (STP; saimiri transformation-associated protein) has a highly hydrophobic stretch of 26 amino acids sufficient for a membrane-spanning domain near its carboxy terminus; this domain is immediately preceded by a sequence appropriate for formation of a metal-binding domain (His X2 His X6 Cys X2 Cys, where Xs are other amino acids). One of two poly(A)+ RNAs that could encode STP is bicistronic, while the other has a long 5' untranslated region (~ 1.5 kilobases). Although some analogies can be drawn between STP and LMP (lymphocyte membrane protein) of Epstein-Barr virus, STP is not related in sequence to LMP.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science