The persistence-associated transcript 1 (PAT1) is actively expressed during persistent infection with Hz-1 virus, while transcription of the rest of the viral genes is shut down. Previously, results of a series deletion of the PAT1 promoter suggested that the regions from nucleotides -312 to -212 and nucleotides -158 to -90 negatively regulate the promoter activity. Here, the negative regulatory effect of the -312/-90 fragment was confirmed using a heterologous IEO promoter of Autographa californica multiple nucleopolyhedrovirus. Further, the negative regulation of the -312 to -212 region was orientation-independent. The results of electrophoresis mobility shift assays showed that cellular protein(s) bind specifically to DNA fragments -312/-212 and -158/-90. In each of these fragments, a GATA element was identified by computer-assisted analysis. Mutating both GATA elements in the -312/-90 fragment completely eliminated its negative effect on IEO promoter activity, while mutating only one of these elements had little or no effect. Together, these results suggest that the GATA element has a negative regulatory role on the IEO and PAT1 promoters.
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