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1.  The Human Papillomavirus E6 Oncogene Represses a Cell Adhesion Pathway and Disrupts Focal Adhesion through Degradation of TAp63β upon Transformation 
PLoS Pathogens  2011;7(9):e1002256.
Cervical carcinomas result from cellular transformation by the human papillomavirus (HPV) E6 and E7 oncogenes which are constitutively expressed in cancer cells. The E6 oncogene degrades p53 thereby modulating a large set of p53 target genes as shown previously in the cervical carcinoma cell line HeLa. Here we show that the TAp63β isoform of the p63 transcription factor is also a target of E6. The p63 gene plays an essential role in skin homeostasis and is expressed as at least six isoforms. One of these isoforms, ΔNp63α, has been found overexpressed in squamous cell carcinomas and is shown here to be constitutively expressed in Caski cells associated with HPV16. We therefore explored the role of p63 in these cells by performing microarray analyses after repression of endogenous E6/E7 expression. Upon repression of the oncogenes, a large set of p53 target genes was found activated together with many p63 target genes related to cell adhesion. However, through siRNA silencing and ectopic expression of various p63 isoforms we demonstrated that TAp63β is involved in activation of this cell adhesion pathway instead of the constitutively expressed ΔNp63α and β. Furthermore, we showed in cotransfection experiments, combined with E6AP siRNA silencing, that E6 induces an accelerated degradation of TAp63β although not through the E6AP ubiquitin ligase used for degradation of p53. Repression of E6 transcription also induces stabilization of endogenous TAp63β in cervical carcinoma cells that lead to an increased concentration of focal adhesions at the cell surface. Consequently, TAp63β is the only p63 isoform suppressed by E6 in cervical carcinoma as demonstrated previously for p53. Down-modulation of focal adhesions through disruption of TAp63β therefore appears as a novel E6-dependent pathway in transformation. These findings identify a major physiological role for TAp63β in anchorage independent growth that might represent a new critical pathway in human carcinogenesis.
Author Summary
High-risk human papillomavirus infection can cause cancer of the uterine cervix. The viral proteins leading to transformation of the infected keratinocytes are the E6 and E7 oncogenes which interact with and induce degradation of the cell cycle regulators p53 and pRB. In cervical carcinoma cells, repression of E6/E7 stabilizes the p53 transcription factor leading to activation of a large group of cellular p53 target genes. Here we show that repression of E6/E7 also induces transcriptional activation of an additional large set of genes involved in cell adhesion including previously described p63 target genes. Indeed, we further demonstrated that these p63 target genes are activated by TAp63β and not by p53 or by the ΔNp63α or β isoforms, even though these transcription factors are also expressed in these cells. In cervical carcinoma cells, E6 expression therefore leads to TAp63β degradation thereby allowing anchorage independent growth. Our work describes a new E6-dependent transformation pathway in HPV-associated carcinogenesis. TAp63β inhibition may also represent a common pathway to activate anchorage independent growth in cancers.
PMCID: PMC3182928  PMID: 21980285
2.  Tumor suppressor or oncogene? A critical role of the human papillomavirus (HPV) E2 protein in cervical cancer progression 
The papillomavirus (PV) E2 proteins have been shown to exert many functions in the viral cycle including pivotal roles in transcriptional regulation and in viral DNA replication. Besides these historical roles, which rely on their aptitude to bind to specific DNA sequences, E2 has also been shown to modulate the host cells through direct protein interactions mainly through its amino terminal transactivation domain. We will describe here some of these new functions of E2 and their potential implication in the HPV-induced carcinogenesis. More particularly we will focus on E2-mediated modulation of the host cell cycle and consequences to cell transformation. In all, the HPV E2 proteins exhibit complex functions independent of transcription that can modulate the host cells in concert with the viral vegetative cycle and which could be involved in early carcinogenesis.
PMCID: PMC3180061  PMID: 21968515
HPV; E2; transformation; transcription; chromatin; replication; cell cycle; apoptosis; cervical carcinoma
3.  A New E6/P63 Pathway, Together with a Strong E7/E2F Mitotic Pathway, Modulates the Transcriptome in Cervical Cancer Cells▿  
Journal of Virology  2007;81(17):9368-9376.
Cervical carcinoma is associated with certain types of human papillomaviruses expressing the E6 and E7 oncogenes, which are involved in carcinogenesis through their interactions with the p53 and pRB pathways, respectively. A critical event on the path to malignant transformation is often manifested by the loss of expression of the viral E2 transcription factor due to the integration into the host genome of the viral DNA. Using microarrays, we have previously shown that reintroduction of a functional E2 in the HeLa cervical carcinoma cell line activates a cluster of p53 target genes while at the same time severely repressing a group of E2F target genes. In the present study, using new high-density microarrays containing more than 22,000 human cDNA sequences, we identified a novel p63 pathway among E2-activated genes and 38 new mitotic genes repressed by E2. We then sought to determine the pathways through which these genes were modulated and used an approach that relies on small interfering RNA to demonstrate that the p63 target genes were activated through silencing of the E6/E6AP pathway while the mitotic genes were mainly repressed through E7 silencing. Importantly, a subset of the mitotic genes was shown to be significantly induced in biopsies of stage IV cervical cancers, which points to a prominent E7 pathway in cervical carcinoma.
PMCID: PMC1951466  PMID: 17582001
4.  HMG-I(Y) and the CBP/p300 Coactivator Are Essential for Human Papillomavirus Type 18 Enhanceosome Transcriptional Activity 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2003;23(7):2329-2340.
A strong epithelial specific enhancer drives transcription of the human papillomavirus type 18 (HPV18) oncogenes. Its activity depends on the formation of a higher-order nucleoprotein complex (enhanceosome) involving the sequence-specific JunB/Fra2 transcription factor and the HMG-I(Y) architectural protein. Here we show that proteins from HeLa cell nuclear extract cover almost all of the HPV18 enhancer sequences and that it contains seven binding sites for the purified HMG-I(Y) protein, providing evidence for a tight nucleoprotein structure. Binding of HMG-I(Y) and the AP1 heterodimer from HeLa nuclear extract to overlapping sites of the core enhanceosome is cooperative. The integrity of this specific HMG-I(Y) binding site is as essential as the AP1 binding site for the enhancer function, indicating the fundamental role played by this architectural protein. We demonstrate that the CBP/p300 coactivator is recruited by the HPV18 enhanceosome and that it is limiting for transcriptional activation, since it is sequestered by the adenovirus E1A protein and by the JunB/Fra2 positive factor in excess. We show the involvement of JunB and p300 in vivo in the HPV18 transcription by chromatin immunoprecipitation of HPV18 sequences in HeLa cells.
PMCID: PMC150719  PMID: 12640118

Results 1-4 (4)