The E6 protein of the human papillomavirus (HPV) underpins important protein interaction networks between the virus and host to promote viral infection. Through its interaction with E6AP, a host E3 ubiquitin (UB) ligase, E6 stirs the protein ubiquitination pathways toward the oncogenic transformation of the infected cells. For a systematic measurement of E6 reprogramming of the substrate pool of E6AP, we performed a proteomic screen based on “orthogonal UB transfer (OUT)” that allowed us to identify the ubiquitination targets of E6AP dependent on the E6 protein of HPV-16, a high-risk viral subtype for the development of cervical cancer. The OUT screen identified more than 200 potential substrates of the E6-E6AP pair based on the transfer of UB from E6AP to the substrate proteins. Among them, we verified that E6 would induce E6AP-catalyzed ubiquitination of importin proteins KPNA1-3, protein phosphatase PGAM5, and arginine methyltransferases CARM1 to trigger their degradation by the proteasome. We further found that E6 could significantly reduce the cellular level of KPNA1 that resulted in the suppression of nuclear transport of phosphorylated STAT1 and the inhibition of interferon-γ-induced apoptosis in cervical cancer cells. Overall, our work demonstrates OUT as a powerful proteomic platform to probe the interaction of E6 and host cells through protein ubiquitination and reveals a new role of E6 in down-regulating nuclear transport proteins to attenuate tumor-suppressive signaling.
- nuclear transport
- orthogonal ubiquitin transfer
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology