Individual cloned dIII fragments of vaccinia virus DNA were introduced into cells by DNA-mediated gene transfer. The presence of individual fragments in the different transformants was confirmed by Southern blot hybridization analysis. Several of the transformants were found to express viral sequences at various levels. The sizes of the transcripts containing vaccinia virus sequences were highly heterogeneous, with no discrete species of RNA. Positive clones contained vaccinia virus sequences in both the poly(A) and poly(A) RNA fractions, although the prevalence of these sequences was variable in the two fractions. The S1 nuclease map of the 5′ end of the transcripts from transformants containing the dIII-J fragment revealed a unique 5′ end, similar to RNA from virus-infected cells. In contrast, analysis of the 3′ end of RNAs from these transformants showed a high degree of heterogeneity, which might explain the heterogeneity found in Northern blot patterns. In this report, it is shown for the first time that in cells transformed with vaccinia virus DNA there is proper initiation for, at least, the viral thymidine kinase gene.


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