Bovine papillomavirus type 4 (BPV-4) is a mucosal epitheliotropic virus that is a causative agent in alimentary carcinoma of cattle. The long control region (LCR) of this virus controls expression of the transforming proteins, E8 and E7. Deletion mutants of the LCR were prepared and assayed for their ability to activate transcription from the LCR promoter in primary bovine palate keratinocytes (the natural target cell for BPV-4) and fibroblasts. The LCR was at least an order of magnitude more active in keratinocytes than in fibroblasts. An epithelial specific enhancer was identified that activated transcription from the SV40 promoter to levels identical to the full-length LCR. One of the active sites in the enhancer is 100% conserved in the LCR of human papillomavirus type 16. The results demonstrate that the BPV-4 LCR has an epithelial specific enhancer, which offers the opportunity to study epithelial specific transcriptional regulation of papillomavirus promoters.


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