The viral replication factors E1 and E2 of papillomaviruses are necessary and sufficient to replicate plasmids containing the minimal origin of DNA replication in transient assays. Under physiological conditions, the upstream regulatory region (URR) governs expression of the early viral genes. To determine the effect of URR elements on E1 and E2 expression specifically, and on the regulation of DNA replication during the various phases of the viral life cycle, we carried out a systematic replication study with entire genomes of human papillomavirus type 31 (HPV31), a high-risk oncogenic type. We constructed a series of URR deletions, spacer replacements, and point mutations to analyze the role of the keratinocyte enhancer (KE) element, the auxiliary enhancer (AE) domain, and the L1-proximal end of the URR (5'-URR domain) in DNA replication during establishment, maintenance, and vegetative viral DNA amplification. Using transient and stable replication assays, we demonstrate that the KE and AE are necessary for efficient E1 and E2 gene expression and that the KE can also directly modulate viral replication. KE- mediated activation of replication is dependent on the position and orientation of the element. Mutation of either one of the four Ap1 sites, the single Sp1 site, or the binding site for the uncharacterized footprint factor 1 reduced replication efficiency through decreased expression of E1 and E2. Furthermore, the 5'-URR domain and the Oct1 DNA binding site are dispensable for viral replication, since such HPV31 mutants are able to replicate efficiently in a transient assay, maintain a stable copy number over several cell generations, and amplify viral DNA under vegetative conditions. Interestingly, deletion of the 5'-URR domain leads to increased transient and stable replication levels. These findings suggest that elements in the HPV31 URR outside the minimal origin modulate viral replication through both direct and indirect mechanisms.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science