L factor is a unique plasmid DNA which was originally discovered in a subclone (B822) of mouse L cells at a high copy number (more than 5,000 copies/cell). The presence of L factor caused no detectable abnormalities to the plasmid-bearing cells. We determined the total DNA sequence of the L factor I (and a part of L factor II) and compared it with that of polyoma DNA. Both DNA are common to the general construction of DNA frames such as early, late and non-coding regions, suggesting the two to be closely related. On the other hand, the L factor DNA sequences differ substantially from that of polyoma in the DNA sequences corresponding to the polyoma large T antigen, capsid proteins and a portion of the enhancer region. In order to investigate the mechanism of plasmid establishment of L factor, we compared the enhancer activity, capacity of DNA replication and efficiency of plasmid establishment of L factor with those of polyoma. The results indicate that L factor enhancer activity and DNA replication capacity were considerably lower than those of polyoma, suggesting that these altered (lowered) activities associated with L factor contribute to the plasmidal establishment and stable maintenance of L factor.
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