The Late Expression Factors 8 and 9 and Possibly the Phosphoprotein p78/83 of <i>Autographa californica</i> Multicapsid Nucleopolyhedrovirus Are Components of the Virus-Induced RNA Polymerase
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Attempts were made to identify some of the subunits of the baculovirus-induced RNA polymerase following purification of its enzymatic activity by conventional chromatography. Polymerase activity was extracted from lysates of insect cells infected with Autographa californica multicapsid nucleopolyhedrovirus by polyethylenimine precipitation and subsequently purified by phosphocellulose, anion exchange, poly(A) Sepharose affinity, and gel filtration chromatography. The presence of the polymerase was monitored by its alpha-amanitin-resistant activity in in vitro transcription assays. A number of polypeptides associated with the enzymatic activity were identified. Peptide-specific antibodies were generated against a variety of late-expression factors (LEFs) and these antibodies, along with antisera directed against several other baculovirus proteins, were used in an immunoblot analysis of the purified polymerase. The results revealed that both the viral helicase (p143) and the virogenic stroma protein, pp31, copurify with the baculovirus-induced RNA polymerase activity through several chromatographic steps and may be loosely associated with the RNA polymerase. LEF8, LEF9 and p78/83, a nucleocapsid-associated phosphoprotein, were found to associate with the viral-induced polymerase activity. LEF8 and LEF9 contain regions of sequence homology with components of other DNA-directed RNA polymerases, while a portion of p78/83 exhibits some homology to the sigma factor of bacterial RNA polymerase, the RAP30 protein found in the mammalian transcription complex TFIIF, and the RAP94 polypeptide associated with vaccinia virus RNA polymerase. The p78/83 protein has previously been shown by our laboratory to be a capsid protein, but it may also play some role with the RNA polymerase. These results represent a first attempt to identify specific components of the RNA polymerase associated with infections of insect cells by A. californica nucleopolyhedrovirus.
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