Induction of apoptosis by adenovirus type 5 E1A in rat cells requires a proliferation block.
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Infection with Ad5dl520EIB-, an adenovirus producing only the 243 residue E1A protein and lacking the E1B region, caused apoptosis in normal rat kidney (NRK) cells as judged by the production of nucleosomal DNA fragments. Apoptosis occurred only when the cells were growth-inhibited by cell-cell contacts in confluent cultures or by serum starvation and not when they were actively growing. In uninfected cultures, apoptosis also occurred at confluency, but more slowly than after infection. Studies with E1A deletion mutants of dl520E1B- showed that the regions of the E1A protein essential for induction of apoptosis were those in exon 1 required for binding to the cellular proteins p300 and pRb. Mutants defective at inducing apoptosis were previously found to be defective at inducing baby rat kidney cells to synthesize cellular DNA. In our experiments, cells underwent apoptosis when stimulated by E1A to proliferate under conditions where proliferation was blocked. It is possible that it was the proliferation block opposing the induction of proliferation that led directly to apoptosis. Circumstances leading to induction of apoptosis by c-myc (Evan et al., 1992) are similar and can be interpreted in a similar way.
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