Invertebrate iridescent virus 6 (IIV6) is the type species of the Iridovirus genus in the Betairidovirinae subfamily of the Iridoviridae family. Transcription of the 215 predicted IIV6 genes is temporally regulated, dividing the genes into three kinetic classes: immediate-early (IE), delayed-early (DE), and late (L). So far, the transcriptional class has been determined for a selection of virion protein genes and only for three genes the potential promoter regions have been analyzed in detail. In this study, we investigated the transcriptional class of all IIV6 genes that had not been classified until now. RT-PCR analysis of total RNA isolated from virus-infected insect cells in the presence or absence of protein and DNA synthesis inhibitors, placed 113, 23 and 22 of the newly analyzed viral ORFs into the IE, DE and L gene classes, respectively. Afterwards, in silico analysis was performed to the upstream regions (200 bp) of all viral ORFs using the MEME Suite Software. The AA(A/T)(T/A)TG(A/G)A and (T/A/C)(T/G/C)T(T/A)ATGG motifs were identified in the upstream region of IE and DE genes, respectively. These motifs were validated by luciferase reporter assays as crucial sequences for promoter activity. For the L genes two conserved motifs were identified for all analyzed genes: (T/G)(C/T)(A/C)A(T/G/C)(T/C)T(T/C) and (C/G/T)(G/A/C)(T/A)(T/G) (G/T)(T/C). However, the presence of these two motifs did not influence promoter activity. Conversely, the presence of these two sequences upstream of the reporter decreased its expression. Single nucleotide mutations in the highly conserved nucleotides at the end of the second motif (TTGT) showed that this motif acted as a repressor sequence for late genes in the IIV6 genome. Next, upstream sequences of IIV6 L genes from which we removed this second motif in silico, were re-analyzed for the presence of potential conserved promoter sequences. Two additional motifs were identified in this way for L genes: (T/A)(A/T)(A/T/G)(A/T)(T/C)(A/G)(A/C)(A/C) and (C/G)(T/C)(T/A/C)C(A/T)(A/T)T(T/G) (T/G)(T/G/A). Independent mutations in either motif caused a severe decrease in luciferase expression. Information on temporal classes and upstream regulatory sequences will contribute to our understanding of the transcriptional mechanisms in IIV6.
- Promoter sequence
- Transcriptional analysis