A molecular dissection of the adenovirus EIIA early (E) promoter was undertaken to study the sequence elements required for transcription and to examine the nucleotide sequences, if any, specific for its trans-activation by the viral pre-early EIA gene product. A chimeric gene in which the EIIA-E promoter region fused to the coding sequences of the bacterial chloramphenicol acetyltransferase (CAT) gene was used in transient assays to identify the transcriptional control regions. Deletion mapping studies revealed that the upstream DNA sequences up to -86 were sufficient for the optimal basal level transcription in HeLa cells and also for the EIA-induced transcription. A series of linker-scanning (LS) mutants were constructed to precisely identify the nucleotide sequences that control transcription. Analysis of these LS mutants allowed us to identify two regions of the promoter that are critical for the EIIA-E transcription. These regions are located between -29 and -21 (region I) and between -82 and -66 (region II). Mutations in region I affected initiation and appeared functionally similar to the 'TATA' sequence of the commonly studied promoters. To examine whether or not the EIIA-E promoter contained DNA sequences specific for the trans-activation by the EIA, the LS mutants were analyzed in a cotransfection assay containing a plasmid carrying the EIA gene. CAT activity of all of the LS mutants was induced by the EIA gene in this assay, suggesting that the induction of transcription of the EIIA-E promoter by the EIA gene is not sequence-specific.
Murthy, S. C. S., Bhat, G. P., & Thimmappaya, B. (1985). Adenovirus EIIA early promoter: Transcriptional control elements and induction by the viral pre-early EIA gene, which appears to be sequence independent. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 82(8), 2230–2234. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.82.8.2230