The adenovirus IVa2 and L1 52/55-kDa proteins are involved in the assembly of new virus particles. Both proteins bind to the packaging sequence of the viral chromosome, and the lack of expression of either protein results in no virus progeny: the absence of the L1 52/55-kDa protein leads to formation of only empty capsids, and the absence of the IVa2 protein results in no capsid assembly. Furthermore, the IVa2 and L1 52/55-kDa proteins interact with each other during adenovirus infection. However, what is not yet clear is when and how this interaction occurs during the course of the viral infection. We defined the domains of the L1 52/55-kDa protein required for interaction with the IVa2 protein, DNA binding, and virus replication by constructing L1 52/55-kDa protein truncations. We found that the N-terminal 173 amino acids of the L1 52/55-kDa protein are essential for interaction with the IVa2 protein. However, for both DNA binding and complementation of the pm8001 mutant virus, which does not express the L1 52/55-kDa protein, the amino-terminal 331 amino acids of the L1 52/55-kDa protein are necessary. These results suggest that the production of infectious virus particles depends on the ability of the L1 52/55-kDa protein to bind to DNA.
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