Human papillomavirus (HPV) E2 proteins regulate viral replication by binding to sites in the upstream regulatory region (URR) and by complex formation with the E1 origin recognition protein. In the genital HPV types, the distribution and location of four E2 binding sites (BS1 to BS4) which flank a single E1 binding site are highly conserved. We have examined the roles of these four E2 sites in the viral life cycle of HPV type 31 (HPV31) by using recently developed methods for the biosynthesis of papillomaviruses from transfected DNA templates (M. G. Frattini et. al., Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 93:3062-3067, 1996). In transient assays, no single site was found to be necessary for replication, and mutation of the early promoter-proximal site (BS4) led to a fourfold increase in replication. Cotransfection of the HPV31 wild-type (HPV-wt) and mutant genomes with expression vectors revealed that E1 stimulated replication of HPV31-wt as well as the HPV31-BS1, -BS2, and -BS3 mutants. In contrast, increased expression of E2 decreased replication of these genomes. Replication of the HPV31-BS4 mutant genome was not further increased by cotransfection of E1 expression vectors but was stimulated by E2 coexpression. In stably transfected normal human keratinocytes, mutation of either BS1, BS3, or BS4 resulted in integration of viral genomes into host chromosomes. In contrast, mutation of BS2 had no effect on stable maintenance of episomes or copy number. Following growth of stably transfected lines in organotypic raft cultures, the differentiation- dependent induction of late gene expression and amplification of viral DNA of the BS2 mutant was found to be similar to that of HPV31-wt. We were unable to find a role for BS2 in our assays for viral functions. We conclude that at least three of the four E2 binding sites in the URRs of HPVs are essential for the productive viral life cycle. The specific arrangement of E2 binding sites within the URR appears to be more important for viral replication than merely the number of sites.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science