The region upstream of the Spodoptera exigua multicapsid nucleopolyhedrovirus (SeMNPV) ubiquitin gene contains four near-identical 68-bp-long palindromic repeats. This region, named Sehr6 and located at map unit (m.u.) 88 of the SeMNPV genome on pSeEcoRI-2.2, showed structural homology to previously identified homologous regions (hrs) in a number of other baculoviruses. Hrs function as enhancers of transcription and as putative origins (oris) of baculovirus DNA replication. Five additional hrs (Sehr1-Sehr5) were identified on the SeMNPV genome by Southern blot hybridization with an 18-bp-long oligonucleotide complementary to a sequence conserved within the arms of the four palindromic repeats of Sehr6. Sehr1-Sehr6 were dispersed on the SeMNPV genome at m.u. 8.0, 30.0, 38.5, 51.0, 77.0 and 88.0, respectively. Sequence analysis of these hrs confirmed the presence of palindromic repeats, highly similar to those found in pSeEcoRI-2.2. The number of palindromes varied from one (Sehr4) to nine (Sehr1) per hr. The Sehrs are all present in non-coding regions of the SeMNPV genome and also contain multiple putative transcription recognition sequences. Plasmids containing either of the Sehrs replicated in an SeMNPV-dependent DNA replication assay. The Sehrs were unable to replicate in an AcMNPV-dependent DNA replication assay. This was in contrast to the previously observed SeMNPV non-hr type ori, which replicated in the presence of both AcMNPV and SeMNPV. These data suggest that the replication of SeMNPV and the role of hrs in this process is highly specific.


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