Type B leukemogenic virus has a T-cell-specific enhancer that binds AML-1

J. A. Mertz, F. Mustafa, S. Meyers, J. P. Dudley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Type B leukemogenic virus (TBLV) induces rapidly appearing T-cell tumors in mice. TBLV is highly related to mouse mammary tumor virus (MMTV) except that TBLV long terminal repeats (LTRs) have a deletion of negative regulatory elements and a triplication of sequences flanking the deletion. To determine if the LTR triplication represents a viral enhancer element, we inserted the triplication upstream and downstream in either orientation relative to the thymidine kinase promoter linked to the luciferase gene. These experiments showed that upregulation of reporter gene activity by the TBLV triplication was relatively orientation independent, consistent with the activity of eukaryotic enhancer elements. TBLV enhancer activity was observed in T-cell lines but not in fibroblasts, B cells, or mammary cells, suggesting that enhancer function is cell type dependent. To analyze the transcription factor binding sites that are important for TBLV enhancer function, we prepared substitution mutations in a reconstituted C3H MMTV LTR that recapitulates the deletion observed in the TBLV LTR. Transient transfections showed that a single mutation (556M) decreased TBLV enhancer activity at least 20-fold in two different T-cell lines. This mutation greatly diminished AML-1 (recently renamed RUNX1) binding in gel shift assays with a mutant oligonucleotide, whereas AML-1 binding to a wild-type TBLV oligomer was specific, as judged by competition and supershift experiments. The 556 mutation also reduced TBLV enhancer binding of two other protein complexes, called NF-A and NF-B, that did not appear to be related to c-Myb or Ets. AML-1 overexpression in a mammary cell line enhanced expression from the TBLV LTR approximately 30-fold. These data suggest that binding of AML-1 to the TBLV enhancer, likely in combination with other factors, is necessary for optimal enhancer function.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2174-2184
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Virology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Insect Science
  • Virology


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