Cytomegalovirus; transcription; UL140; UL141
Transcription of human cytomegalovirus UL/b′ region has been studied extensively for some genes. In this study, transcripts of the UL140 and UL141, two of the UL/b′ genes, were identified in late RNAs of three HCMV isolates using Northern blot hybridization, cDNA library screening and RACE-PCR. At least three transcripts with length of 2800, 2400 and 1700 nt, as well as a group of transcripts of about 1000–1300 nt, were found in this gene region with an accordant 3′ ends. Among the transcripts, two initiated upstream of the start code of the UL140 gene and contained the UL140 and UL141 open reading frame (ORF), one initiated in the middle of the UL140 gene, and could encode short ORFs upstream of the UL141 ORF. A group of transcripts initiated upstream or downstream of the start code of the UL141 gene, and could encode `nested’ ORFs, including the UL141 ORF. These `nested’ ORFs possess different initiation sites but the same termination site as that of the UL141 ORF.