The major mRNA species in the E1 region of the genome of bovine adenovirus type 3 (BAV3) have been defined by using a combination of PCR, 5' RACE, Northern analysis and DNA sequencing. Independent transcription initiation sites were identified for each of the E1a, E1b and protein IX (pIX) transcription units, but all mRNA species terminated at the same poly(A) addition site immediately downstream of the pIX open reading frame. Thus, the BAV3 E1 region, which consists of the E1a and E1b genes together with that for pIX, functions as a nested overlapping transcription unit. One major mRNA species encoding the E1a protein was found and two mRNAs encoding E1b species, the smaller of which encodes the E1b 17K protein alone and the larger encodes both 17K and 47K E1b proteins, were identified. One mRNA species encodes pIX. The E1a transcript, encoding the predicted 214 residue E1a protein, has four exons. The smaller E1b mRNA has two exons, the second of which corresponds to the last exon of E1a. No introns were detected in the larger E1b mRNA that encodes both the E1b 17K and 47K proteins nor in the mRNA encoding pIX. The relative times of appearance of the mRNAs from the E1-pIX gene region following infection of bovine cells with BAV3 was determined.


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