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      E6^E7, a Novel Splice Isoform Protein of Human Papillomavirus 16, Stabilizes Viral E6 and E7 Oncoproteins via HSP90 and GRP78




      American Society of Microbiology

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          Transcripts of human papillomavirus 16 (HPV16) E6 and E7 oncogenes undergo alternative RNA splicing to produce multiple splice isoforms. However, the importance of these splice isoforms is poorly understood. Here we report a critical role of E6^E7, a novel isoform containing the 41 N-terminal amino acid (aa) residues of E6 and the 38 C-terminal aa residues of E7, in the regulation of E6 and E7 stability. Through mass spectrometric analysis, we identified that HSP90 and GRP78, which are frequently upregulated in cervical cancer tissues, are two E6^E7-interacting proteins responsible for the stability and function of E6^E7, E6, and E7. Although GRP78 and HSP90 do not bind each other, GRP78, but not HSP90, interacts with E6 and E7. E6^E7 protein, in addition to self-binding, interacts with E6 and E7 in the presence of GRP78 and HSP90, leading to the stabilization of E6 and E7 by prolonging the half-life of each protein. Knocking down E6^E7 expression in HPV16-positive CaSki cells by a splice junction-specific small interfering RNA (siRNA) destabilizes E6 and E7 and prevents cell growth. The same is true for the cells with a GRP78 knockdown or in the presence of an HSP90 inhibitor. Moreover, mapping and alignment analyses for splicing elements in 36 alpha-HPVs (α-HPVs) suggest the possible expression of E6^E7 mostly by other oncogenic or possibly oncogenic α-HPVs (HPV18, -30, -31, -39, -42, -45, -56, -59, -70, and -73). HPV18 E6^E7 is detectable in HPV18-positive HeLa cells and HPV18-infected raft tissues. All together, our data indicate that viral E6^E7 and cellular GRP78 or HSP90 might be novel targets for cervical cancer therapy.


          HPV16 is the most prevalent HPV genotype, being responsible for 60% of invasive cervical cancer cases worldwide. What makes HPV16 so potent in the development of cervical cancer remains a mystery. We discovered in this study that, besides producing two well-known oncoproteins, E6 and E7, seen in other high-risk HPVs, HPV16 produces E6^E7, a novel splice isoform of E6 and E7. E6^E7, in addition to self-interacting, binds cellular chaperone proteins, HSP90 and GRP78, and viral E6 and E7 to increase the steady-state levels and half-lives of viral oncoproteins, leading to cell proliferation. The splicing cis elements in the regulation of HPV16 E6^E7 production are highly conserved in 11 oncogenic or possibly oncogenic HPVs, and we confirmed the production of HPV18 E6^E7 in HPV18-infected cells. This study provides new insight into the mechanism of splicing, the interplay between different products of the polycistronic viral message, and the role of the host chaperones as they function.

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          Most cited references 61

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          Oncomine 3.0: genes, pathways, and networks in a collection of 18,000 cancer gene expression profiles.

          DNA microarrays have been widely applied to cancer transcriptome analysis; however, the majority of such data are not easily accessible or comparable. Furthermore, several important analytic approaches have been applied to microarray analysis; however, their application is often limited. To overcome these limitations, we have developed Oncomine, a bioinformatics initiative aimed at collecting, standardizing, analyzing, and delivering cancer transcriptome data to the biomedical research community. Our analysis has identified the genes, pathways, and networks deregulated across 18,000 cancer gene expression microarrays, spanning the majority of cancer types and subtypes. Here, we provide an update on the initiative, describe the database and analysis modules, and highlight several notable observations. Results from this comprehensive analysis are available at http://www.oncomine.org.
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            Vaccination against HPV-16 oncoproteins for vulvar intraepithelial neoplasia.

            Vulvar intraepithelial neoplasia is a chronic disorder caused by high-risk types of human papillomavirus (HPV), most commonly HPV type 16 (HPV-16). Spontaneous regression occurs in less than 1.5% of patients, and the rate of recurrence after treatment is high. We investigated the immunogenicity and efficacy of a synthetic long-peptide vaccine in women with HPV-16-positive, high-grade vulvar intraepithelial neoplasia. Twenty women with HPV-16-positive, grade 3 vulvar intraepithelial neoplasia were vaccinated three or four times with a mix of long peptides from the HPV-16 viral oncoproteins E6 and E7 in incomplete Freund's adjuvant. The end points were clinical and HPV-16-specific T-cell responses. The most common adverse events were local swelling in 100% of the patients and fever in 64% of the patients; none of these events exceeded grade 2 of the Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events of the National Cancer Institute. At 3 months after the last vaccination, 12 of 20 patients (60%; 95% confidence interval [CI], 36 to 81) had clinical responses and reported relief of symptoms. Five women had complete regression of the lesions, and HPV-16 was no longer detectable in four of them. At 12 months of follow-up, 15 of 19 patients had clinical responses (79%; 95% CI, 54 to 94), with a complete response in 9 of 19 patients (47%; 95% CI, 24 to 71). The complete-response rate was maintained at 24 months of follow-up. All patients had vaccine-induced T-cell responses, and post hoc analyses suggested that patients with a complete response at 3 months had a significantly stronger interferon-gamma-associated proliferative CD4+ T-cell response and a broad response of CD8+ interferon-gamma T cells than did patients without a complete response. Clinical responses in women with HPV-16-positive, grade 3 vulvar intraepithelial neoplasia can be achieved by vaccination with a synthetic long-peptide vaccine against the HPV-16 oncoproteins E6 and E7. Complete responses appear to be correlated with induction of HPV-16-specific immunity. Copyright 2009 Massachusetts Medical Society.
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              GRP78 induction in cancer: therapeutic and prognostic implications.

               Amy S. Lee (2007)
              Cancer cells adapt to chronic stress in the tumor microenvironment by inducing the expression of GRP78/BiP, a major endoplasmic reticulum chaperone with Ca(2+)-binding and antiapoptotic properties. GRP78 promotes tumor proliferation, survival, metastasis, and resistance to a wide variety of therapies. Thus, GRP78 expression may serve as a biomarker for tumor behavior and treatment response. Combination therapy suppressing GRP78 expression may represent a novel approach toward eradication of residual tumors. Furthermore, the recent discovery of GRP78 on the cell surface of cancer cells but not in normal tissues suggests that targeted therapy against cancer via surface GRP78 may be feasible.

                Author and article information

                American Society of Microbiology (1752 N St., N.W., Washington, DC )
                17 February 2015
                Jan-Feb 2015
                : 6
                : 1
                Tumor Virus RNA Biology Section, Gene Regulation and Chromosome Biology Laboratory, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Frederick, Maryland, USA
                Author notes
                Address correspondence to Zhi-Ming Zheng, zhengt@ 123456exchange.nih.gov .

                Editor Michael J. Imperiale, University of Michigan

                This article is a direct contribution from a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology.

                Copyright © 2015 Ajiro and Zheng

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license, which permits unrestricted noncommercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

                Page count
                supplementary-material: 10, Figures: 7, Tables: 1, Equations: 0, References: 81, Pages: 15, Words: 13105
                Research Article
                Custom metadata
                January/February 2015

                Life sciences


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