Recent lessons in gene expression, cell cycle control, and cell biology from adenovirus

Oncogene. 2005 Nov 21;24(52):7673-85. doi: 10.1038/sj.onc.1209040.


Adenovirus continues to be an important model system for investigating basic aspects of cell biology. Interactions of several cellular proteins with E1A conserved regions (CR) 1 and 2, and inhibition of apoptosis by E1B proteins are required for oncogenic transformation. CR2 binds RB family members, de-repressing E2F transcription factors, thus activating genes required for cell cycling. E1B-19K is a BCL2 homolog that binds and inactivates proapoptotic BAK and BAX. E1B-55K binds p53, inhibiting its transcriptional activation function. In productively infected cells, E1B-55K and E4orf6 assemble a ubiquitin ligase with cellular proteins Elongins B and C, Cullin 5 and RBX1 that polyubiquitinates p53 and one or more subunits of the MRN complex involved in DNA double-strand break repair, directing them to proteosomal degradation. E1A CR3 activates viral transcription by interacting with the MED23 Mediator subunit, stimulating preinitiation complex assembly on early viral promoters and probably also the rate at which they initiate transcription. The viral E1B-55K/E4orf6 ubiquitin ligase is also required for efficient viral late protein synthesis in many cell types, but the mechanism is not understood. E1A CR1 binds several chromatin-modifying complexes, but how this contributes to stimulation of cellular DNA synthesis and transformation is not clear. E1A CR4 binds the CtBP corepressor, but the mechanism by which this modulates the frequency of transformation remains to be determined. Clearly, adenovirus has much left to teach us about fundamental cellular processes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenoviridae / genetics*
  • Adenoviridae / physiology*
  • Adenovirus E1A Proteins / genetics*
  • Adenovirus E1A Proteins / physiology*
  • Adenovirus E1B Proteins / genetics
  • Adenovirus E1B Proteins / physiology
  • Apoptosis
  • Cell Cycle / physiology*
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Viral*
  • Genes, p53
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • Adenovirus E1A Proteins
  • Adenovirus E1B Proteins