The gene expression of Autographa californica multiple nucleopolyhedrovirus (AcMNPV) was examined in two types of mammalian cells, human HeLa14 and hamster BHK cells. DNA microarray analysis followed by reverse transcription-PCR identified at least 12 viral genes transcribed in both HeLa14 cells and BHK cells inoculated with AcMNPV. 5′ rapid amplification of cDNA ends was carried out to examine the transcriptional fidelity of these genes in HeLa14 cells. The transcription of ie-1, ie-0 and gp64 was initiated at a baculovirus early gene motif, CAGT, accompanied by a TATA motif. In addition, the same splicing observed for ie-0 mRNA in Sf9 cells occurred in HeLa14 cells. While the transcription initiation sites for pe38 and p6.9 were not located in the CAGT motif, most of them were in a typical eukaryotic RNA polymerase II promoter structure (a conventional TATA motif and/or an initiator). Interestingly, the expression of β-actin was upregulated in the mammalian cells inoculated with AcMNPV. Subsequent experiments using UV-inactivated virus confirmed the upregulation, suggesting that de novo synthesis of viral products is not required for the event. These results indicated that the AcMNPV genome acts as a template for transcription in mammalian cells through the usual infection pathway, though there is no evidence for the functional expression of viral genes at present.
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