Inhibition of HPV-16 E6/E7 immortalization of normal keratinocytes by hairpin ribozymes.
ABSTRACT: HPV-16 E6 and E7 genes are required to efficiently immortalize a broad spectrum of cell types including cervical keratinocytes. Therefore, the E6/E7 genes can be considered relevant targets for anti-cancer therapy. We produced several engineered hairpin (HP) ribozymes to specifically disrupt HPV-16 E6/E7 mRNA. After extensive biochemical characterization, one anti-E6 HP ribozyme (R434) was selected for in vivo testing because of its superior catalytic capabilities. When expressed in cis, R434 efficiently inhibited E6 in vitro translation. Cis-expression of the HP ribozyme with HPV-16 E6/E7 genes in normal human keratinocytes reduced the growth rate and prevented immortalization. RNA analysis by reverse transcription-PCR showed that E6/E7 transcripts were cleaved in post-transfected cells and virtually were eliminated after long term expression. Of interest, an inactive version of the HP also was able to significantly affect the immortalizing ability of E6/E7, probably through passive hybridization. The combination of passive and cleaving antisense RNA therefore is established as an effective inhibitor of HPV-16 E6/E7 immortalization.
Project description:Telomerase activation is critical for the immortalization of primary human keratinocytes by the high-risk HPV E6 and E7 oncoproteins, and this activation is mediated in part by E6-induction of the hTERT promoter. E6 induces the hTERT promoter via interactions with the cellular ubiquitin ligase, E6AP, and with the c-Myc and NFX-1 proteins, which are resident on the promoter. In the current study we demonstrate that E6 protein interacts directly with the hTERT protein. Correlating with its ability to bind hTERT, E6 also associates with telomeric DNA and with endogenous active telomerase complexes. Most importantly, E6 increases the telomerase activity of human foreskin fibroblasts transduced with the hTERT gene, and this activity is independent of hTERT mRNA expression. Unlike its ability to degrade p53, E6 does not degrade hTERT protein in vitro or in vivo. Our studies of E6/hTERT interactions also reveal that the C-terminal tagged hTERT protein, although incapable of immortalizing fibroblasts, does immortalize keratinocytes in collaboration with the viral E7 protein. Thus, E6 protein mediates telomerase activation by a posttranscriptional mechanism and these findings provide a model for exploring the direct modulation of cell telomerase/telomere function by an oncogenic virus and suggest its potential role in both neoplasia and virus replication.
Project description:Infection with a transforming human papillomavirus (HPV) such as type 16 (of species Alphapapillomavirus 9) causes ano-genital and oral tumours via viral persistence in human squamous cell epithelia. Epidemiological studies showed that the naturally occurring HPV16 Asian-American (AA) variant (sublineage D2/D3) is found more often than the European Prototype (EP) (sublineage A1) in high-grade cervical neoplasia and tumours compared to non-cancer controls. Just three amino acid changes within the early gene, E6, of HPV16 AA have been linked to this augmented tumourigenicity. The AAE6 variant's greater immortalizing and transforming potential over EPE6 has recently been confirmed in retrovirally-transduced keratinocytes expressing the E6 gene only. However, the tumourigenic role of the full-length viral genome of HPV16 has not yet been addressed with regard to these E6 variants. To investigate this process in the context of these two HPV16 E6 genotypes, an organotypic tissue culture model was used to simulate the HPV infectious life cycle. The AAE6 variant demonstrated an enhanced ability over EPE6 to drive the viral life cycle toward tumourigenesis, as evidenced phenotypically-by a more severe grade of epithelial dysplasia with higher proliferation and deregulated differentiation, and molecularly-by high viral oncogene E6 and E7 expression, but lack of productive viral life cycle markers. In contrast, EPE6 had low E6 and E7 but high E1?E4 expression, indicative of a productive life cycle. We suggest increased viral integration into the host genome for AAE6 as one possible mechanism for these observed differences from EPE6. Additionally, we found downstream effects on immortalization and host innate immune evasion. This study highlights how minor genomic variations in transforming viruses can have a significant affect on their tumourigenic ability.
Project description:High-risk human papillomavirus (HPV) E7 proteins enable oncogenic transformation of HPV-infected cells by inactivating host cellular proteins. High-risk but not low-risk HPV E7 target PTPN14 for proteolytic degradation, suggesting that PTPN14 degradation may be related to their oncogenic activity. HPV infects human keratinocytes but the role of PTPN14 in keratinocytes and the consequences of PTPN14 degradation are unknown. Using an HPV16 E7 variant that can inactivate retinoblastoma tumor suppressor (RB1) but cannot degrade PTPN14, we found that high-risk HPV E7-mediated PTPN14 degradation impairs keratinocyte differentiation. Deletion of PTPN14 from primary human keratinocytes decreased keratinocyte differentiation gene expression. Related to oncogenic transformation, both HPV16 E7-mediated PTPN14 degradation and PTPN14 deletion promoted keratinocyte survival following detachment from a substrate. PTPN14 degradation contributed to high-risk HPV E6/E7-mediated immortalization of primary keratinocytes and HPV+ but not HPV- cancers exhibit a gene-expression signature consistent with PTPN14 inactivation. We find that PTPN14 degradation impairs keratinocyte differentiation and propose that this contributes to high-risk HPV E7-mediated oncogenic activity independent of RB1 inactivation.
Project description:Previous studies have shown that wild-type human telomerase reverse transcriptase (hTERT) protein can functionally replace the human papillomavirus type 16 (HPV-16) E6 protein, which cooperates with the viral E7 protein in the immortalization of primary keratinocytes. In the current study, we made the surprising finding that catalytically inactive hTERT (hTERT-D868A), elongation-defective hTERT (hTERT-HA), and telomere recruitment-defective hTERT (hTERT N+T) also cooperate with E7 in mediating bypass of the senescence blockade and effecting cell immortalization. This suggests that hTERT has activities independent of its telomere maintenance functions that mediate transit across this restriction point. Since hTERT has been shown to have a role in gene activation, we performed microarray studies and discovered that E6, hTERT and mutant hTERT proteins altered the expression of highly overlapping sets of cellular genes. Most important, the E6 and hTERT proteins induced mRNA and protein levels of Bmi1, the core subunit of the Polycomb Group (PcG) complex 1. We show further that Bmi1 substitutes for E6 or hTERT in cell immortalization. Finally, tissue array studies demonstrated that expression of Bmi1 increased with the severity of cervical dysplasia, suggesting a potential role in the progression of cervical cancer. Together, these data demonstrate that hTERT has extra-telomeric activities that facilitate cell immortalization and that its induction of Bmi1 is one potential mechanism for mediating this activity.
Project description:Infection with high-risk type human papilloma viruses (HPVs) is associated with cervical carcinomas and with a subset of head and neck squamous cell carcinomas. Viral E6 and E7 oncogenes cooperate to achieve cell immortalization by a mechanism that is not yet fully understood. Here, human keratinocytes were immortalized by long-term expression of HPV type 16 E6 or E7 oncoproteins, or both. Proteomic profiling was used to compare expression levels for 741 discrete protein features.Six replicate measurements were performed for each group using two-dimensional difference gel electrophoresis (2D-DIGE). The median within-group coefficient of variation was 19-21%. Significance of between-group differences was tested based on Significance Analysis of Microarray and fold change. Expression of 170 (23%) of the protein features changed significantly in immortalized cells compared to primary keratinocytes. Most of these changes were qualitatively similar in cells immortalized by E6, E7, or E6/7 expression, indicating convergence on a common phenotype, but fifteen proteins (~2%) were outliers in this regulatory pattern. Ten demonstrated opposite regulation in E6- and E7-expressing cells, including the cell cycle regulator p16INK4a; the carbohydrate binding protein Galectin-7; two differentially migrating forms of the intermediate filament protein Cytokeratin-7; HSPA1A (Hsp70-1); and five unidentified proteins. Five others had a pattern of expression that suggested cooperativity between the co-expressed oncoproteins. Two of these were identified as forms of the small heat shock protein HSPB1 (Hsp27).This large-scale analysis provides a framework for understanding the cooperation between E6 and E7 oncoproteins in HPV-driven carcinogenesis.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Human Papillomavirus (HPV)-16 is a paradigm for "high-risk" HPVs, the causative agents of virtually all cervical carcinomas. HPV E6 and E7 viral genes are usually expressed in these tumors, suggesting key roles for their gene products, the E6 and E7 oncoproteins, in inducing malignant transformation. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS:By protein-protein interaction analysis, using mass spectrometry, we identified glutathione S-transferase P1-1 (GSTP1) as a novel cellular partner of the HPV-16 E7 oncoprotein. Following mapping of the region in the HPV-16 E7 sequence that is involved in the interaction, we generated a three-dimensional molecular model of the complex between HPV-16 E7 and GSTP1, and used this to engineer a mutant molecule of HPV-16 E7 with strongly reduced affinity for GSTP1.When expressed in HaCaT human keratinocytes, HPV-16 E7 modified the equilibrium between the oxidized and reduced forms of GSTP1, thereby inhibiting JNK phosphorylation and its ability to induce apoptosis. Using GSTP1-deficient MCF-7 cancer cells and siRNA interference targeting GSTP1 in HaCaT keratinocytes expressing either wild-type or mutant HPV-16 E7, we uncovered a pivotal role for GSTP1 in the pro-survival program elicited by its binding with HPV-16 E7. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE:This study provides further evidence of the transforming abilities of this oncoprotein, setting the groundwork for devising unique molecular tools that can both interfere with the interaction between HPV-16 E7 and GSTP1 and minimize the survival of HPV-16 E7-expressing cancer cells.
Project description:The life cycle of human papillomaviruses (HPV) is strictly linked to the differentiation of their natural host cells. The HPV E6 and E7 oncoproteins can delay the normal differentiation program of keratinocytes, however, the exact mechanisms responsible for this have not yet been identified. The goal of this study was to investigate the effects of HPV16 oncoproteins on the expression of genes involved in keratinocyte differentiation. Primary human keratinocytes transduced by LXSN (control) retroviruses or virus vectors expressing HPV16 E6, E7 or E6/E7 genes were subjected to gene expression profiling. The results of microarray analysis showed that HPV 16 E6 and E7 have the capacity to down-regulate the expression of several genes involved in keratinocyte differentiation. Quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) assays were performed to confirm microarray data. To investigate the effects of the HPV oncoproteins on the promoters of selected keratinocyte differentiation genes, luciferase reporter assays were performed. Our results suggest that the HPV 16 E6 and/or E7 oncogenes are able to down-regulate the expression of several genes involved in keratinocyte differentiation, at least partially by down-regulating their promoter activity. This activity of the HPV oncoproteins may have a role in the productive virus life cycle, and also in virus induced carcinogenesis. Primary human foreskin keratinocytes were transduced by retrovirus vectors containing HPV 16 E6, E7, E6/E7 or the control vector LXSN. The global gene expression patterns of transduced keratinocytes were analyzed on Affymetrix microarrays
Project description:Human Papillomavirus (HPV) infection is the main risk factor for the development and progression of cervical cancer. HPV-16 E6 and E7 expression is essential for induction and maintenance of the transformed phenotype. These oncoproteins interfere with the function of several intracellular proteins, including those controlling the PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway in which Phospolipase D (PLD) and Phosphatidic acid (PA) play a critical role.PLD activity was measured in primary human keratinocytes transduced with retroviruses expressing HPV-16 E6, E7 or E7 mutants. The cytostatic effect of rapamycin, a well-known mTOR inhibitor with potential clinical applications, was evaluated in monolayer and organotypic cultures.HPV-16 E7 expression in primary human keratinocytes leads to an increase in PLD expression and activity. Moreover, this activation is dependent on the ability of HPV-16 E7 to induce retinoblastoma protein (pRb) degradation. We also show that cells expressing HPV-16 E7 or silenced for pRb acquire resistance to the antiproliferative effect of rapamycin.This is the first indication that HPV oncoproteins can affect PLD activity. Since PA can interfere with the ability of rapamycin to bind mTOR, the use of combined strategies to target mTOR and PLD activity might be considered to treat HPV-related malignancies.
Project description:Herein, we describe a novel infection model that achieves highly efficient infection of primary keratinocytes with human papillomavirus type 16 (HPV16). This cell culture model does not depend on immortalization and is amenable to extensive genetic analyses. In monolayer cell culture, the early but not late promoter was active and yielded a spliced viral transcript pattern similar to HPV16-immortalized keratinocytes. However, relative levels of the E8^E2 transcript increased over time post infection suggesting the expression of this viral repressor is regulated independently of other early proteins and that it may be important for the shift from the establishment to the maintenance phase of the viral life cycle. Both the early and the late promoter were strongly activated when infected cells were subjected to differentiation by growth in methylcellulose. When grown as organotypic raft cultures, HPV16-infected cells expressed late E1^E4 and L1 proteins and replication foci were detected, suggesting that they supported the completion of the viral life cycle. As a proof of principle that the infection system may be used for genetic dissection of viral factors, we analyzed E1, E6 and E7 translation termination linker mutant virus for establishment of infection and genome maintenance. E1 but not E6 and E7 was essential to establish infection. Furthermore, E6 but not E7 was required for episomal genome maintenance. Primary keratinocytes infected with wild type HPV16 immortalized, whereas keratinocytes infected with E6 and E7 knockout virus began to senesce 25 to 35 days post infection. The novel infection model provides a powerful genetic tool to study the role of viral proteins throughout the viral life cycle but especially for immediate early events and enables us to compare low- and high-risk HPV types in the context of infection.
Project description:The effects of human papillomavirus type 18 (HPV-18) E6 and E7 proteins on global patterns of host gene expression in primary human keratinocytes grown in organotypic raft culture system were assessed. Primary human keratinocytes were infected with retroviruses that express the wild-type HPV-18 E6 and E7 genes from the native differentiation-dependent HPV enhancer-promoter. Total RNA was isolated from raft cultures and used to generate probes for querying Affymetrix U95A microarrays, which contain >12,500 human gene sequences. Quadruplicate arrays of each E6/E7-transduced and empty vector-transduced samples were analyzed by 16 pairwise comparisons. Transcripts altered in > or =12 comparisons were selected for further analysis. With this approach, HPV-18 E6/E7 expression significantly altered the expression of 1,381 genes. A large increase in transcripts associated with DNA and RNA metabolism was observed, with major increases noted for transcription factors, splicing factors, and DNA replication elements, among others. Multiple genes associated with protein translation were downregulated. In addition, major alterations were found in transcripts associated with the cell cycle and cell differentiation. Our study provides a systematic description of transcript changes brought about by HPV-18 E6/E7 in a physiologically relevant model and should furnish a solid source of information to guide future studies.