A series of human adenovirus type 2 genomes with deletions in the left inverted terminal repeat (ITR) have been constructed. Viral genomes that contained a minimum of 45 base pairs (bp) from the terminus of the genome were fully infectious and gave rise to progeny virus which maintained the deletion. In contrast, genomes containing 36 bp or less from the termini of the genome were not infectious. The boundary of a -acting element required for viral replication is therefore between 36 and 45 bp from the adenovirus termini and corresponds to the previously identified viral origin of replication, defined using a transfection assay to measure activity . The growth parameters of viruses with deletions in the left ITR were examined. These deletions had no measurable effect on plaque formation or morphology, viral DNA synthesis or early viral mRNA synthesis. Thus, it appears that DNA sequences in the left ITR, outside the replication origin, are completely dispensable for lytic viral growth in tissue culture cells.

Keyword(s): adenovirus , ITR , mutants and replication

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