The nonstructural proteins of parvovirus exert a variety of disparate functions during viral infection ranging from promoter regulation, involvement in DNA replication, and induction of apoptosis, Our interest was focused on the possible mechanism by which the NS1 protein mediates its effects on the p6 promoter of parvovirus B19. It is known that the p6 promoter is highly active in different cell lines and interaction with the viral NS1 protein results in a further increase of the activity. The protein may function by binding directly to the viral DNA or via an indirect binding through interaction with cellular transcription factors bound to the promoter. We examined the interaction of the NS1 protein with cellular transcription factors which are involved in regulating the promoter activity. After purified baculovirus-expressed NS1 protein in gel retardation assays was added, an altered complex formation was observed, indicating that NS1 protein interacts with Sp1/Sp3 transcription factors. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays verified these findings. The direct interaction of NS1 protein with p6 promoter elements was analyzed by a coprecipitation assay whereby labeled oligonucleotides spanning the entire promoter region were incubated with NS1 protein followed by an immunoprecipitation with NS1-specific antibodies. An eight-nucleotide-long, almost palindromic sequence (AGGGCGGA) was found as potential NS1-binding motif, Footprint analysis with oligonucleotides containing this DNA motif confirmed this result. Thus, transcriptional regulation by the NS1 protein may involve both the interaction with Sp1/Sp3 that binds to the promoter region and direct binding of NS1 to the promoter DNA, (C) 2002 Elsevier Science (USA).