Late gene expression factors, LEF-4, LEF-8, LEF-9 and P47 constitute the primary components of the Autographa californica multinucleocapsid polyhedrovirus (AcMNPV)-encoded RNA polymerase, which initiates transcription from late and very late promoters. Here, characterization of lef-9 and lef-8, which encode their corresponding counterparts, from Bombyx mori NPV is reported. Transcription of lef-9 initiated at two independent sites: from a GCACT sequence located at -38 nt and a CTCTT sequence located at -50 nt, with respect to the +1 ATG of the open reading frame. The 3′ end of the transcript was mapped to a site 17 nt downstream of a canonical polyadenylation signal located 7 nt downstream of the first of the two tandem translational termination codons. Maximum synthesis of LEF-9 was seen from 36 h post-infection (p.i.). The transcription of lef-8 initiated early in infection from a GTGCAAT sequence that differed in the corresponding region from its AcMNPV counterpart (GCGCAGT), with consequent elimination of the consensus early transcription start site motif (underlined). Peak levels of lef-8 transcripts were attained by 24 h p.i. Immunocopurification analyses suggested that there was an association between LEF-8 and LEF-9 in vivo.
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