Encapsidation of viral DNA requires the adenovirus L1 52/55-kilodalton protein

Kurt E. Gustin, Michael J. Imperiale

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Scopus citations


Previous work demonstrated that the adenovirus L1 52/55-kDa protein is required for assembly of viral particles, although its exact role in the assembly process is unclear. The 52/55-kDa protein's early expression, however, suggests that it might have other roles at earlier times during infection. To uncover any role the 52/55-kDa protein might have at early times and to better characterize its role in assembly, a mutant adenovirus incapable of expressing the 52/55-kDa protein was constructed (H5pm8001). Analysis of the onset and extent of DNA replication and late protein synthesis revealed that H5pm8001-infected 293 cells entered the late stage of infection at the same time as did adenovirus type 5 (Ad5)-infected cells. Interestingly, H5pm8001-infected cells displayed slightly lower levels of replicated viral DNA and late proteins, suggesting that although not required, the 52/55-kDa protein does augment these activities during infection. Analysis of transcripts produced from the major late and IVa2 promoters indicated a slight reduction in H5pm8001-infected compared to Ad5- infected cells at 18 h postinfection that was not apparent at later times. Analysis of particles formed in H5pm8001 cells revealed that empty capsids could form, suggesting that the 52/55-kDa protein does not function as a scaffolding protein. Subsequent characterization of these particles demonstrated that they lacked any associated viral DNA. These findings indicate that the 52/55 kDa-protein is required to mediate stable association between the viral DNA and empty capsid and suggest that it functions in the DNA encapsidation process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7860-7870
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of virology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Insect Science
  • Virology


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