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Published February 1979 | public
Journal Article

A stretch of "late" SV40 viral DNA about 400 bp long which includes the origin of replication is specifically exposed in SV40 minichromosomes


Examination of DNA fragments produced from either formaldehyde-fixed or unfixed SV40 minichromosomes by multiple-cut restriction endonucleases has led to the following major results: Exhaustive digestion of unfixed minichromosomes with Hae III generated all ten major limit-digest DNA fragments as well as partial cleavage products. In striking contrast to this result, Hae III acted on formaldehyde-fixed minichromosomes to yield only one of the limit-digest fragments, F, which is located in the immediate vicinity of the origin of replication, spanning nucleotides 5169 and 250 on the DNA sequence map of Reddy et al. (1978). This 300 base pair (bp) fragment was released as naked DNA from formaldehyde-fixed, Hae III-digested minichromosomes following treatment either by pronase-SDS or by SDS alone. In the latter case, the remainder of the minichromosome retained its compact configuration as assayed by both sedimentational and electrophoretic methods. In minichromosomes, the F fragment is therefore not only accessible to Hae III at its ends, but is also neither formaldehyde crosslinked into any SDS-resistant nucleoprotein structure nor topologically "locked" within the compact minichromosomal particle. This same fragment was preferentially produced during the early stages of digestion of unfixed minichromosomes with Hae III, and its final yield in the exhaustive Hae III digest was significantly higher than that of other limit-digest fragments. Similar results were obtained upon digestion of either unfixed or formaldehyde-fixed minichromosomes with Alu I. In particular, of approximately twenty major limit-digest DNA fragments, only two fragments (F and P, encompassing nucleotides 5146 to 190, and 190 to 325, respectively) were produced by Alu I from the formaldehyde-fixed minichromosomes. All other restriction endonucleases tested (Mbo I, Mbo II, Hind III, Hin II+III and Hinf I), for which there are no closely spaced recognition sequences in the above mentioned regions of the SV40 genome, did not produce any significant amount of limit-digest DNA fragments from formaldehyde-fixed minichromosomes. These findings, taken together with our earlier data on the preferential exposure of the origin of replication in SV40 minichromosomes (Varshavsky, Sundin and Bohn, 1978), strongly suggest that a specific region of the "late" SV40 DNA approximately 400 bp long is uniquely exposed in the compact minichromosome. It is of interest that, in addition to the origin of replication, this region contains binding sites for T antigen (Tjian, 1977), specific tandem repeated sequences and apparently also the promoters for synthesis of late SV40 mRNAs (Fiers et al., 1978; Reddy et al. (1978)).

Additional Information

© 1979 MIT. Received 21 September 1978, Revised 25 October 1978. We thank Bruce Yazejian and Frederick Boyce for their excellent technical assistance: Kun Chi Wu for collaboration in one of the experiments; and Maija Ahlquist for typing the manuscript. A.J.V. is greatly indebted to many colleagues both at and outside MIT for their support and generous sharing of facilities and equipment during the course of this work. Particular thanks are due to Drs. R. Hoffman, S. Penman, M. Gefter, G. Brown, D. Baltimore, D. Botstein, R. Erbe, M. Fox, H. Green, R. Horvitz, D. Housman, V. Ingram, R. Kornberg, S. Luria, P. Sharp and G. Walker. The costs of publication of this article were defrayed in part by the payment of page charges. This article must therefore be hereby marked "advertisement" in accordance with 18 U.S.C. Section 1734 solely to indicate this fact.

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