Promoter activity of the Campoletis sonorensis polydnavirus (CsPDV) WHv1.6 gene was analysed by transient transfection assays in insect cell culture using constructs expressing the CAT gene. Deletions of the WHv1.6 gene promoter were used to define promoter regions important for expression. Progressive deletion of the regions upstream of the TATA box reduced the promoter activity, whereas deletions eliminating the TATA box abolished promoter activity. Cis-activating elements were detected up to 1 kb upstream of the WHv1.6 transcription initiation site (TIS). Promoter elements increasing transcription were detected between -444 and -550 bp and between -831 and -1035 bp relative to the TIS. Analysis of the 3' flanking sequences of the WHv1.6 gene indicated that the polyadenylation signals were the only important elements affecting expression in the constructs. Comparison of promoter regions of four cysteine-rich CsPDV genes revealed homologous sequences that may be important for transcriptional regulation of polydnavirus gene expression in parasitized Heliothis virescens larvae.


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