Primary bovine fibroblasts derived from foetal palate can be transformed by bovine papillomavirus type 4 DNA only in the presence of an activated gene, indicating that the virus does not encode all the information required for morphological transformation of non-established cells. A subgenomic fragment containing the complete E8 and E7 open reading frames (ORFs) induces transformation in cooperation with activated but transformation is abolished when the E7 ORF is deleted at the 3′ end, showing that this ORF encodes a necessary transforming function. Transformation is more aggressive when the E8 and E7 ORFs are placed under the transcriptional control of the long terminal repeat of the mouse Moloney leukaemia virus, suggesting that the degree of transformation is dependent on the level of expression of these genes.


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