The human polyomavirus JC virus (JCV) establishes persistent, asymptomatic infections in most individuals, but in severely immunocompromised hosts it may cause the fatal demyelinating brain disease progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy. In cell culture JCV multiplies inefficiently and exhibits a narrow host range. This restricted behavior occurs, in part, at the level of DNA replication, which is regulated by JCV's multifunctional large tumor protein (TAg). To prepare purified JCV TAg (JCT) for biochemical analyses, the recombinant baculovirus B-JCT was generated by cotransfection of insect cells with wild-type baculovirus and the vector pVL-JCT(Int-) containing the JCT-coding sequence downstream of the efficient polyhedrin promoter. JCT expressed in infected cells was immunoaffinity purified using the anti-JCT monoclonal antibody PAb 2000. Characterization of the viral oncoprotein indicated that it exists in solution as a mixture of monomeric and oligomeric species. With the addition of ATP, the population of monomers decreased and that of hexamers and double hexamers increased. A DNA mobility shift assay indicated that origin binding occurred primarily with the double-hexamer form. A comparison of the specific DNA-binding activities of JCT and SV40 TAg (SVT) revealed that JCT generally exhibited greater affinity for binding site II relative to binding site I (B.S.I) of both viral origin regions, whereas SVT preferentially bound B.S.I. Furthermore, JCT bound nonviral DNA more efficiently than did SVT. These functional differences between the two TAgs may contribute to the reduced DNA replication potential of JCV in vitro, and to the virus' ability to establish persistent infections in vivo.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes