Investigation of the DNA binding properties of the simian virus 40 (SV40) A protein (large T antigen) and the hybrid adenovirus-SV40 D2 protein revealed that both viral proteins protect similar regions of SV40 DNA from digestion by DNase I or methylation by dimethyl sulfate. However, the interaction of D2 protein with DNA was more sensitive to increases of NaCl concentration than was the interaction of wild-type SV40 A protein. Dimethylsulfate footprinting identified 13 DNA pentanucleotide contact sites at the viral origin of replication. The sequences of these sites corresponded to the consensus family 5'-(G greater than T) (A greater than G)GGC-3'. The pentanucleotides were distributed in three regions of origin DNA. Region I contained three pentanucleotide contact sites arranged as direct repetitions encompassing a span of 23 base pairs. In region II, four pentanucleotides were oriented as inverted repetitions that also spanned a total of 23 base pairs. Region III had six recognition pentanucleotides arranged as direct repetitions in a space of 59 base pairs. These fundamental variations in DNA arrangement are likely to determine different patterns of protein binding in each region
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