Human papillomavirus type 18 (HPV-18) E7 proteins bind zinc through Cys- X-X-Cys repeats located at the C terminus of the protein. In order to examine the role of these cysteine motifs in E7 function, we expressed the HPV-18 E7 protein in bacteria and found that purified E7 forms a dimer through interactions with zinc. Mutants with single mutations within the Cys-X-X-Cys motifs bound a reduced level of zinc in a zinc blot assay, while a double mutant lost all zinc-binding activity. When expressed in vivo, none of the mutants cooperated with an activated ras oncogene to transform primary rat embryo fibroblasts, but all mutants retained nearly wild-type Rb-binding activity. The results indicate that the cysteine motifs play an important role in transformation by HPV-18 E7 but do not contribute to Rb binding.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science