The E6AP ubiquitin ligase catalyzes the high-risk human papillomaviruses' E6-mediated ubiquitylation of p53, contributing to the neoplastic progression of cells infected by these viruses. Defects in the activity and the dosage of E6AP are linked to Angelman syndrome and to autism spectrum disorders, respectively, highlighting the need for precise control of the enzyme. With the exception of HERC2, which modulates the ubiquitin ligase activity of E6AP, little is known about the regulation or function of E6AP normally. Using a proteomic approach, we have identified and validated several new E6AP-interacting proteins, including HIF1AN, NEURL4, and mitogen-activated protein kinase 6 (MAPK6). E6AP exists as part of several different protein complexes, including the proteasome and an independent high-molecular-weight complex containing HERC2, NEURL4, and MAPK6. In examining the functional consequence of its interaction with the proteasome, we found that UBE3C (another proteasome-associated ubiquitin ligase), but not E6AP, contributes to proteasomal processivity in mammalian cells. We also found that E6 associates with the HERC2-containing high-molecular-weight complex through its binding to E6AP. These proteomic studies reveal a level of complexity for E6AP that has not been previously appreciated and identify a number of new cellular proteins through which E6AP may be regulated or functioning.
We have begun to define the human papillomavirus (HPV)-associated proteome for a subset of the more than 120 HPV types that have been identified to date. Our approach uses a mass spectrometry-based platform for the systematic identification of interactions between human papillomavirus and host cellular proteins, and here we report a proteomic analysis of the E6 proteins from 16 different HPV types. The viruses included represent high-risk, low-risk, and non-cancer-associated types from genus alpha as well as viruses from four different species in genus beta. The E6 interaction data set consists of 153 cellular proteins, including several previously reported HPV E6 interactors such as p53, E6AP, MAML1, and p300/CBP and proteins containing PDZ domains. We report the genus-specific binding of E6s to either E6AP or MAML1, define the specific HPV E6s that bind to p300, and demonstrate several new features of interactions involving beta HPV E6s. In particular, we report that several beta HPV E6s bind to proteins containing PDZ domains and that at least two beta HPV E6s bind to p53. Finally, we report the newly discovered interaction of proteins of E6 of beta genus, species 2, with the Ccr4-Not complex, the first report of a viral protein binding to this complex. This data set represents a comprehensive survey of E6 binding partners that provides a resource for the HPV field and will allow continued studies on the diverse biology of the human papillomaviruses.
Bromodomain protein 4 (Brd4) plays critical roles in development, cancer progression, and virus-host pathogenesis. To gain mechanistic insight into the various biological functions of Brd4, we performed a proteomic analysis to identify and characterize Brd4-associated cellular proteins. We found that the extraterminal (ET) domain, whose function has to date not been determined, interacts with NSD3, JMJD6, CHD4, GLTSCR1, and ATAD5. These ET-domain interactions were also conserved for Brd2 and Brd3, the other human BET proteins tested. We demonstrated that GLTSCR1, NSD3, and JMJD6 impart a pTEFb-independent transcriptional activation function on Brd4. NSD3 as well as JMJD6 is recruited to regulated genes in a Brd4-dependent manner. Moreover, we found that depletion of Brd4 or NSD3 reduces H3K36 methylation, demonstrating that the Brd4/NSD3 complex regulates this specific histone modification. Our results indicate that the Brd4 ET domain through the recruitment of the specific effectors regulates transcriptional activity. In particular, we show that one of these effectors, NSD3, regulates transcription by modifying the chromatin microenvironment at Brd4 target genes. Our study thus identifies the ET domain as a second important transcriptional regulatory domain for Brd4 in addition to the carboxyl-terminal domain (CTD) that interacts with pTEFb.
This study systematically examined the viral long control region (LCR) activities and their responses to E2 for human papillomavirus (HPV) types 11. 16 and 18 as well as bovine papillomavirus 1 (BPV1) in a number of different cell types, including human cervical cancer cell lines, human oral keratinocytes, BJ fibroblasts, as well as CV1 cells. The study revealed cell- and virus-type specific differences among the individual LCRs and their regulation by E2. In addition, the integration of the LCR into the host genome was identified as a critical determinant for LCR activity and its response to E2. Collectively, these data indicate a more complex level of transcriptional regulation of the LCR by cellular and viral factors than previously appreciated, including a comparatively low LCR activity and poor E2 responsive for HPV16 in most human cells. This study should provide a valuable framework for future transcriptional studies in the papillomavirus field.
The papillomavirus E2 open reading frame encodes the full-length E2 protein as well as an alternatively spliced product called E8^E2C. E8^E2C has been best studied for the high-risk human papillomaviruses, where it has been shown to regulate viral genome levels and, like the full-length E2 protein, to repress transcription from the viral promoter that directs the expression of the viral E6 and E7 oncogenes. The repression function of E8^E2C is dependent on the 12-amino-acid N-terminal sequence from the E8 open reading frame (ORF). In order to understand the mechanism by which E8^E2C mediates transcriptional repression, we performed an unbiased proteomic analysis from which we identified six high-confidence candidate interacting proteins (HCIPs) for E8^E2C; the top two are NCoR1 and TBLR1. We established an interaction of E8^E2C with an NCoR1/HDAC3 complex and demonstrated that this interaction requires the wild-type E8 open reading frame. Small interfering RNA (siRNA) knockdown studies demonstrated the involvement of NCoR1/HDAC3 in the E8^E2C-dependent repression of the viral long control region (LCR) promoter. Additional genetic work confirmed that the papillomavirus E2 and E8^E2C proteins repress transcription through distinct mechanisms.
The bromodomain protein Brd4 plays critical roles in cellular proliferation and cell cycle progression. In this study, we investigated the involvement of Brd4 in cell cycle regulation and observed aberrant chromosome segregation and failures in cytokinesis in cancer cells as well as in primary keratinocytes in which Brd4 has been knocked down by RNA interference. Suppression of Brd4 protein levels in proliferating cells decreased Aurora B protein and transcript levels and abolished its chromosomal distribution. In contrast, exogenous Brd4 expression stimulated Aurora B promoter reporter activity and upregulated endogenous Aurora B expression. Aurora B kinase is a chromosomal passenger protein that is essential for chromosome segregation and cytokinesis. Either overexpression of Aurora B or its inactivation can induce defects in centrosome function, spindle assembly, chromosome alignment, and cytokinesis in various cancer cells. The impaired regulation of Aurora B expression in human cells by Brd4 knockdown or overexpression coincided with mitotic catastrophe and multinucleation that are typically observed when Aurora B is inactivated or overexpressed. Overall, our data suggest that Brd4 is essential for the maintenance of the cell cycle progression mediated at least in part through the control of transcription of the Aurora B kinase cell cycle regulatory gene.
Proteomic identification of human papillomavirus type 16 (HPV16) E6-interacting proteins revealed several proteins involved in ubiquitin-mediated proteolysis. In addition to the well-characterized E6AP ubiquitin-protein ligase, a second HECT domain protein (HERC2) and a deubiquitylating enzyme (USP15) were identified by tandem affinity purification of HPV16 E6-associated proteins. This study focuses on the functional consequences of the interaction of E6 with USP15. Overexpression of USP15 resulted in increased levels of the E6 protein, and the small interfering RNA-mediated knockdown of USP15 decreased E6 protein levels. These results implicate USP15 directly in the regulation of E6 protein stability and suggest that ubiquitylated E6 could be a substrate for USP15 ubiquitin peptidase activity. It remains possible that E6 could affect the activity of USP15 on specific cellular substrates, a hypothesis that can be tested as more is learned about the substrates and pathways controlled by USP15.
The papillomavirus (PV) E2 protein is an important regulator of the viral life cycle. It has diverse roles in viral transcription, DNA replication, and genome maintenance. Our laboratory has previously identified the cellular bromodomain protein Brd4 as a key interacting partner of E2. Brd4 mediates the transcriptional activation function of E2 and plays an important role in viral genome maintenance in dividing cells. E2 interacts with the C-terminal domain (CTD) of Brd4, and the CTD functions in a dominant-negative manner through binding E2 and interfering with E2's interaction with the full-length Brd4 protein. Previous studies have shown that PV E2 proteins are short lived; however, the mechanisms regulating their stability and degradation have not yet been well established. In this study, we explored the role of Brd4 in the regulation of bovine PV 1 (BPV1) and human PV 16 (HPV16) E2 stability. Expression of the Brd4 CTD dramatically increases E2 levels. Both BPV1 E2 and HPV16 E2 are regulated by ubiquitylation, and Brd4 CTD expression blocks this ubiquitylation, thus stabilizing the E2 protein. Furthermore, we have identified the cullin-based E3 ligases and specifically cullin-3 as potential components of the ubiquitylation machinery that targets both BPV1 and HPV16 E2 for ubiquitylation. Expression of the Brd4 CTD blocks the interaction between E2 and the cullin-3 complex. In addition to Brd4's role in mediating E2 transcription and genome tethering activities, these data suggest a potential role for Brd4 in regulating E2 stability and protein levels within PV-infected cells.
Studies of the small DNA tumor viruses (the polyomaviruses, the adenoviruses and the papillomaviruses) have led to fundamental discoveries that have advanced our understanding of basic mammalian cell molecular biology processes such as transcription and DNA replication, uncovered pathways and genes often perturbed in human cancer, and identified bona fide human cancer viruses. In this article we examine the many contributions that have come from the small DNA tumor virus field and provide a recounting of some of the major landmark.
SV40; polyoma; HPV; papillomavirus; BPV; p53
The delivery of ubiquitinated proteins to the proteasome for degradation is a key step in the regulation of the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway, yet the mechanisms underlying this step are not understood in detail. The Rad23 family of proteins is known to bind ubiquitinated proteins through its two ubiquitin-associated (UBA) domains, and may participate in the delivery of ubiquitinated proteins to the proteasome through docking via the Rad23 ubiquitin-like (UBL) domain.
In this study, we investigate how the interaction between the UBL and UBA domains may modulate ubiquitin recognition and the delivery of ubiquitinated proteins to the proteasome by autoinhibition. We have explored a competitive binding model using specific mutations in the UBL domain. Disrupting the intramolecular UBL-UBA domain interactions in HHR23A indeed potentiates ubiquitin-binding. Additionally, the analogous surface on the Rad23 UBL domain overlaps with that required for interaction with both proteasomes and the ubiquitin ligase Ufd2. We have found that mutation of residues on this surface affects the ability of Rad23 to deliver ubiquitinated proteins to the proteasome.
We conclude that the competition of ubiquitin-proteasome pathway components for surfaces on Rad23 is important for the role of the Rad23 family proteins in proteasomal targeting.
The papillomavirus E2 protein is a critical viral regulatory protein with transcription, DNA replication, and genome maintenance functions. We have previously identified the cellular bromodomain protein Brd4 as a major E2-interacting protein and established that it participates in tethering bovine papillomavirus type 1 E2 and viral genomes to host cell mitotic chromosomes. We have also shown that Brd4 mediates E2-dependent transcriptional activation, which is strongly inhibited by the disruption of E2/Brd4 binding as well as by short hairpin RNA (shRNA) knockdown of Brd4 expression levels. Since several mutants harboring single amino acid substitutions within the E2 transactivation domain that are defective for both transcriptional transactivation and Brd4 binding are also defective for transcriptional repression, we examined the role of Brd4 in E2 repression of the human papillomavirus E6/E7 promoter. Surprisingly, in a variety of in vivo assays, including transcription reporter assays, HeLa cell proliferation and colony reduction assays, and Northern blot analyses, neither blocking of the binding of E2 to Brd4 nor shRNA knockdown of Brd4 affected the E2 repression function. Our study provides evidence for a Brd4-independent mechanism of E2-mediated repression and suggests that different cellular factors must be involved in E2-mediated transcriptional activation and repression functions.
The bovine papillomavirus type 1 (BPV-1) E7 oncoprotein is required for the full transformation activity of the virus. Although BPV-1 E7 by itself is not sufficient to induce cellular transformation, it enhances the abilities of the other BPV-1 oncogenes to induce anchorage independence. We have been exploring the mechanisms by which E7 might affect the transformation efficiency of other viral oncoproteins and in particular whether it might protect cells from apoptosis. We report here that BPV-1 E6 and E7 can each independently inhibit anoikis, a type of apoptosis that is induced upon cell detachment. Using site-directed mutagenesis, we determined regions of the E7 protein that were essential for its antiapoptotic activity. The ability of E7 to inhibit anoikis did partially correlate with an ability to enhance anchorage independence of BPV-1 E6-transformed cells. In addition, the antiapoptotic activity of E7 also only partially correlated with its ability to bind p600, a cellular protein that has previously been reported to play a role in anoikis. We conclude that the contribution of E7 to BPV-induced cellular transformation may involve its ability to inhibit anoikis but that additional functional activities must also be involved.
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) core protein is a major component of viral nucleocapsid and a multifunctional protein involved in viral pathogenesis and hepatocarcinogenesis. We previously showed that the HCV core protein is degraded through the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway. However, the molecular machinery for core ubiquitylation is unknown. Using tandem affinity purification, we identified the ubiquitin ligase E6AP as an HCV core-binding protein. E6AP was found to bind to the core protein in vitro and in vivo and promote its degradation in hepatic and nonhepatic cells. Knockdown of endogenous E6AP by RNA interference increased the HCV core protein level. In vitro and in vivo ubiquitylation assays showed that E6AP promotes ubiquitylation of the core protein. Exogenous expression of E6AP decreased intracellular core protein levels and supernatant HCV infectivity titers in the HCV JFH1-infected Huh-7 cells. Furthermore, knockdown of endogenous E6AP by RNA interference increased intracellular core protein levels and supernatant HCV infectivity titers in the HCV JFH1-infected cells. Taken together, our results provide evidence that E6AP mediates ubiquitylation and degradation of HCV core protein. We propose that the E6AP-mediated ubiquitin-proteasome pathway may affect the production of HCV particles through controlling the amounts of viral nucleocapsid protein.
The latency-associated nuclear antigen (LANA) of Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) is required for viral episome maintenance in host cells during latent infection. Two regions of the protein have been implicated in tethering LANA/viral episomes to the host mitotic chromosomes, and LANA chromosome-binding sites are subjects of high interest. Because previous studies had identified bromodomain protein Brd4 as the mitotic chromosome anchor for the bovine papillomavirus E2 protein, which tethers the viral episomes to host mitotic chromosomes (J. You, J. L. Croyle, A. Nishimura, K. Ozato, and P. M. Howley, Cell 117:349-360, 2004, and J. You, M. R. Schweiger, and P. M. Howley, J. Virol. 79:14956-14961, 2005), we examined whether KSHV LANA interacts with Brd4. We found that LANA binds Brd4 in vivo and in vitro and that the binding is mediated by a direct protein-protein interaction between the ET (extraterminal) domain of Brd4 and a carboxyl-terminal region of LANA previously implicated in chromosome binding. Brd4 associates with mitotic chromosomes throughout mitosis and demonstrates a strong colocalization with LANA and the KSHV episomes on host mitotic chromosomes. Although another bromodomain protein, RING3/Brd2, binds to LANA in a similar fashion in vitro, it is largely excluded from the mitotic chromosomes in KSHV-uninfected cells and is partially recruited to the chromosomes in KSHV-infected cells. These data identify Brd4 as an interacting protein for the carboxyl terminus of LANA on mitotic chromosomes and suggest distinct functional roles for the two bromodomain proteins RING3/Brd2 and Brd4 in LANA binding. Additionally, because Brd4 has recently been shown to have a role in transcription, we examined whether Brd4 can regulate the CDK2 promoter, which can be transactivated by LANA.
The papillomavirus E2 regulatory protein has essential roles in viral transcription and the initiation of viral DNA replication as well as for viral genome maintenance. Brd4 has recently been identified as a major E2-interacting protein and, in the case of the bovine papillomavirus type 1, serves to tether E2 and the viral genomes to mitotic chromosomes in dividing cells, thus ensuring viral genome maintenance. We have explored the possibility that Brd4 is involved in other E2 functions. By analyzing the binding of Brd4 to a series of alanine-scanning substitution mutants of the human papillomavirus type 16 E2 N-terminal transactivation domain, we found that amino acids required for Brd4 binding were also required for transcriptional activation but not for viral DNA replication. Functional studies of cells expressing either the C-terminal domain of Brd4 that can bind E2 and compete its binding to Brd4 or short interfering RNA to knock down Brd4 protein levels revealed a role for Brd4 in the transcriptional activation function of E2 but not for its viral DNA replication function. Therefore, these studies establish a broader role for Brd4 in the papillomavirus life cycle than as the chromosome tether for E2 during mitosis.
The bovine papillomavirus E2 protein tethers the viral genomes to mitotic chromosomes in dividing cells through binding to the C-terminal domain (CTD) of Brd4. Expression of the Brd4-CTD competes the binding of E2 to endogenous Brd4 in cells. Here we extend our previous study that identified Brd4 as the E2 mitotic chromosome receptor to show that Brd4-CTD expression released the viral DNA from mitotic chromosomes in BPV-1 transformed cells. Furthermore, stable expression of Brd4-CTD enhanced the frequency of morphological reversion of BPV-1 transformed C127 cells resulting in the complete elimination of the viral DNA in the resulting flat revertants.
Interferon production and apoptosis in virus-infected cells are necessary to prevent progeny virus production and to eliminate infected cells. Paramyxovirus infection induces apoptosis through interferon regulatory factor 3 (IRF-3), but the exact mechanism of how IRF-3 functions is unknown. We show that IRF-3 is involved in the transcriptional induction of TRAIL, a key player in the apoptosis pathway. IRF-3 upregulates TRAIL transcription following viral infection and binds an interferon-stimulated response element in the TRAIL promoter. The mRNA for TRAIL and its receptor, DR5, are induced following viral infection. These studies identify TRAIL as a novel IRF-3 transcriptional target.
The papillomavirus capsid mediates binding to the cell surface and passage of the virion to the perinuclear region during infection. To better understand how the virus traffics across the cell, we sought to identify cellular proteins that bind to the minor capsid protein L2. We have identified syntaxin 18 as a protein that interacts with bovine papillomavirus type 1 (BPV1) L2. Syntaxin 18 is a target membrane-associated soluble N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor-attachment protein receptor (tSNARE) that resides in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). The ectopic expression of FLAG-tagged syntaxin 18, which disrupts ER trafficking, blocked BPV1 pseudovirion infection. Furthermore, the expression of FLAG-syntaxin 18 prevented the passage of BPV1 pseudovirions to the perinuclear region that is consistent with the ER. Genetic studies identified a highly conserved L2 domain, DKILK, comprising residues 40 to 44 that mediated BPV1 trafficking through the ER during infection via an interaction with the tSNARE syntaxin 18. Mutations within the DKILK motif of L2 that did not significantly impact virion morphogenesis or binding at the cell surface prevented the L2 interaction with syntaxin 18 and disrupted BPV1 infection.
The ubiquitin-like hPLIC proteins can associate with proteasomes, and hPLIC overexpression can specifically interfere with ubiquitin-mediated proteolysis (Kleijnen et al., 2000). Because the hPLIC proteins can also interact with certain E3 ubiquitin protein ligases, they may provide a link between the ubiquitination and proteasomal degradation machineries. The amino-terminal ubiquitin-like (ubl) domain is a proteasome-binding domain. Herein, we report that there is a second proteasome-binding domain in hPLIC-2: the carboxyl-terminal ubiquitin-associated (uba) domain. Coimmunoprecipitation experiments of wild-type and mutant hPLIC proteins revealed that the ubl and uba domains each contribute independently to hPLIC-2–proteasome binding. There is specificity for the interaction of the hPLIC-2 uba domain with proteasomes, because uba domains from several other proteins failed to bind proteasomes. Furthermore, the binding of uba domains to polyubiquitinated proteins does not seem to be sufficient for the proteasome binding. Finally, the uba domain is necessary for the ability of full-length hPLIC-2 to interfere with the ubiquitin-mediated proteolysis of p53. The PLIC uba domain has been reported to bind and affect the functions of proteins such as GABAA receptor and presenilins. It is possible that the function of these proteins may be regulated or mediated through proteasomal degradation pathways.
All members of the herpesvirus family persist in their host throughout life. In doing so, herpesviruses exploit a surprising number of different strategies to evade the immune system. Human herpesvirus 7 (HHV-7) is a relatively recently discovered member of the herpesvirus family, and little is known about how it escapes immune detection. Here we show that HHV-7 infection results in premature degradation of major histocompatibility complex class I molecules. We identify and characterize a protein from HHV-7, U21, that binds to and diverts properly folded class I molecules to a lysosomal compartment. Thus, U21 is likely to function in the normal course of HHV-7 infection to downregulate surface class I molecules and prevent recognition of infected cells by cytotoxic T lymphocytes.
Virus infection of numerous cell types results in the transcriptional induction of a subset of virus- and interferon (IFN)-stimulated genes. The beta IFN (IFN-β) gene is one of these rapidly induced genes; it serves as a fundamental component of the cellular defense response in eliciting potent antiviral, immunomodulatory, and antiproliferative effects. One of the transcription factors involved in the stringent regulation of IFN-β production following virus infection is interferon regulatory factor (IRF) 3 (IRF-3). We have characterized an alternatively spliced isoform of IRF-3 that we have called IRF-3a. IRF-3a can selectively and potently inhibit virus-induced activation of the IFN-β promoter. IRF-3a lacks half of the DNA binding domain found in IRF-3 and is unable to bind to the classical IRF binding elements, IFN-stimulated response elements. These studies suggest that IRF-3a may act as a modulator of IRF-3.
The E6 protein of the high-risk human papillomaviruses (HPVs) and the cellular ubiquitin-protein ligase E6AP form a complex which causes the ubiquitination and degradation of p53. We show here that HPV16 E6 promotes the ubiquitination and degradation of E6AP itself. The half-life of E6AP is shorter in HPV-positive cervical cancer cells than in HPV-negative cervical cancer cells, and E6AP is stabilized in HPV-positive cancer cells when expression of the viral oncoproteins is repressed. Expression of HPV16 E6 in cells results in a threefold decrease in the half-life of transfected E6AP. E6-mediated degradation of E6AP requires (i) the binding of E6 to E6AP, (ii) the catalytic activity of E6AP, and (iii) activity of the 26S proteasome, suggesting that E6-E6AP interaction results in E6AP self-ubiquitination and degradation. In addition, both in vitro and in vivo experiments indicate that E6AP self-ubiquitination results primarily from an intramolecular transfer of ubiquitin from the active-site cysteine to one or more lysine residues; however, intermolecular transfer can also occur in the context of an E6-mediated E6AP multimer. Finally, we demonstrate that an E6 mutant that is able to immortalize human mammary epithelial cells but is unable to degrade p53 retains its ability to bind and degrade E6AP, raising the possibility that E6-mediated degradation of E6AP contributes to its ability to transform mammalian cells.
The papillomavirus E2 gene product plays a pivotal role in viral replication. E2 has multiple functions, including (i) transcriptional activation and repression of viral promoters and (ii) the enhancement of viral DNA replication. It was previously reported that E2 suppressed the growth of papillomavirus-positive cervical carcinoma cell lines. In the present study, we investigated the mechanisms of E2 growth inhibition. We found that the transcriptional activation function of E2 is required for inhibition of the growth of HeLa cells as well as for transcriptional repression of the viral E6/E7 promoter. It had been previously postulated that transcriptional repression of the E6/E7 promoter results from E2 binding its cognate sites proximal to the E6/E7 promoter and displacing other cellular transcriptional factors. In this study, we report a requirement for the transcription activation function for the binding of E2 to transcriptionally active templates.
The human papillomavirus (HPV) E2 protein is an important regulator of viral E6 and E7 gene expression. E2 can repress the viral promoter for E6 and E7 expression as well as block progression of the cell cycle in cancer cells harboring the DNA of “high-risk” HPV types. Although the phenomenon of E2-mediated growth arrest of HeLa cells and other HPV-positive cancer cells has been well documented, the specific mechanism by which E2 affects cellular proliferation has not yet been elucidated. Here, we show that bovine papillomavirus (BPV) E2-induced growth arrest of HeLa cells requires the repression of the E6 and E7 promoter. This repression is specific for E2TA and not E2TR, a BPV E2 variant that lacks the N-terminal transactivation domain. We demonstrate that expression of HPV16 E6 and E7 from a heterologous promoter that is not regulated by E2 rescues HeLa cells from E2-mediated growth arrest. Our data indicate that the pathway of E2-mediated growth arrest of HeLa cells requires repression of E6 and E7 expression through an activity specified by the transactivation domain of E2TA.
Mutation of the conserved glutamic acid residue at position 39 of human papillomavirus type 16 (HPV-16) E2 to alanine (E39A) disrupts its E1 interaction activity and its replication function in transient replication assays but does not affect E2 transcriptional activation. This E39A mutation also disrupts replication activity of HPV-16 E2 in HPV-16 in vitro DNA replication. On this basis, we designed 23- and 15-amino-acid peptides derived from HPV-16 E2 sequences flanking the E39 residue and tested the ability of these peptides to inhibit interaction between HPV-16 E1 and E2 in vitro. The inhibitory activity of these peptides was specific, since analogous peptides in which alanine was substituted for the E39 residue did not inhibit interaction. The 15-amino-acid peptide E2N-WP15 was the smallest peptide tested that effectively inhibited HPV-16 E1-E2 interaction. This peptide also inhibited in vitro replication of HPV-16 DNA. The efficacy of E2N-WP15 was not exclusive to HPV-16: this peptide also inhibited interaction of HPV-11 E1 with the E2 proteins of both HPV-11 and HPV-16 and inhibited in vitro replication with these same combinations of E1 and E2 proteins. These results provide further evidence that E1-E2 interaction is required for papillomavirus DNA replication and constitute the first demonstration that inhibition of this interaction is sufficient to prevent HPV DNA replication in vitro.