A Moloney murine leukemia virus-derived retroviral vector (N4) carrying the bacterial neomycin resistance gene (neo) was used to study the chromatin configuration of integrated proviral DNA in NIH 3T3-derived cell lines containing one copy of the vector DNA per cell. Three independently obtained cell lines were examined. In two of these cell lines, the vector was introduced by viral infection, while in the third the construct was introduced by DNA transfection. Such transfected cell lines (including the one examined) usually express 10- to 50-fold less virus-specific RNA than do cell lines obtained by viral infection. All three cell lines exhibited similar patterns of DNase I-hypersensitive (HS) sites. Two strong DNase I HS sites were detected in the 5' long terminal repeat, which contains signals required for proper and efficient initiation of viral transcription. One of these sites was found to overlap the viral enhancer sequences, while the other site mapped very close to the start site for viral transcription. A third HS site was detected in nearby internal viral sequences. Only one HS site was found in the 3' long terminal repeat, which contains the signal(s) required for proper addition of a poly(A) tail to viral transcripts. This HS site was located in the region of the viral enhancer. Several weak DNAse I HS sites were also found in the cellular sequences adjacent to the intergration sites, at different locations in each cell line analyzed. No common pattern of cellular DNase I HS sites was found. These observations suggest that (i) the 5' and 3' long terminal repeats of integrated retroviral proviruses exhibit different chromatin conformations, possibly reflecting the different functions encoded by the otherwise identical sequences, and (ii) the DNase I HS sites detected in these studies reflect only a potential for transcription and are not a reflection of the high transcriptional activity characteristic of retroviruses.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science