We have cloned and analysed the transcriptional properties of two closely linked genes, and , of nuclear polyhedrosis virus (BmNPV). These genes encode a structural polypeptide and a putative transcriptional regulator of the virus, respectively. The gene is transcribed prior to and after DNA replication from a site located within the ORF of the adjacent gene. Its transcription product, a 1·3 kb mRNA, is polyadenylated at a site containing consensus eukaryotic polyadenylation signals and mapping 87 bp downstream of the translation termination codon for CG30. During the later stages of infection, two additional RNAs, 2·2 and 6·5 kb, are also transcribed through the gene. The 2·2 kb RNA, representing the mRNA that encodes P39, is initiated from three relatively closely spaced sites located upstream of the P39 ORF. The 6·5 kb RNA is apparently transcribed from the promoter sequences of another gene located further upstream of the gene. The 2·2 and 6·5 kb transcripts have two polyadenylation sites. The first site is the same as the one used to generate the gene-specific transcripts. The second is located 4 bp downstream of the CG30 translation termination codon. Transient expression assays show that the gene sequences immediately upstream of the CG30 ORF can direct expression of a reporter gene when the latter is co-transfected with the gene encoding the early baculovirus -activator IE1. Thus, these sequences behave as a delayed-early baculovirus gene promoter.


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