Organization of the Adenoviral Genome
The DNA genomes of adenoviruses have been the objects of intense scrutiny since the first representative of this virus family was isolated in the winter of 1953-54. Both the oncogenicity of human serotypes, first recognized in 1962, and the expression of viral genetic information via cellular RNA polymerases II and III, spurred initial interest in the molecular biology of adenoviruses. Studies of these viruses have provided numerous insights into fundamental cellular processes, including the production of eukaryotic mRNA by splicing and control of cell cycle progression by tumor suppressor proteins of the Rb family (for reviews see refs. 8 and 9). We now know a great deal about the organization of adenoviral genetic information, the nature and functions of viral gene products, and the mechanisms that ensure their orderly production during the infectious cycle, as well as the mechanisms by which specific viral proteins can alter the growth and proliferation of cells in which they are made. Such knowledge is the foundation for more recent efforts to exploit adenoviruses as vectors for both experimental and therapeutic purposes.