The E7 oncoprotein of high-risk human papillomaviruses (HPVs) binds to and alters the action of cell cycle regulatory proteins such as members of the retinoblastoma (Rb) family of proteins as well as the histone deacetylases (HDACs). To examine the significance of the binding of E7 to HDACs in the viral life cycle, a mutational analysis of the E7 open reading frame was performed in the context of the complete HPV type 31 (HPV-31) genome. Human foreskin keratinocytes were transfected with wild-type HPV-31 genomes or HPV-31 genomes containing mutations in HDAC binding sequences as well as in the C-terminal zinc finger-like domain, and stable cell lines were isolated. All mutant genomes, except those with E7 mutations in the HDAC binding site, were found to be stably maintained extrachromosomally at an early passage following transfection. Upon further passage in culture, genomes containing mutations to the Rb binding domain as well as the zinc finger-like region quickly lost the ability to maintain episomal genomes. Genomes containing mutations abolishing E7 binding to HDACs or to Rb or mutations to the zinc finger-like motifs failed to extend the life span of transfected keratinocytes and caused cells to arrest at the same time as the untransfected keratinocytes. When induced to differentiate by suspension in methylcellulose, cells maintaining genomes with mutations in the Rb binding domain or the zinc finger-like motifs were impaired in their abilities to activate late viral functions. This study demonstrates that the interaction of E7 with HDACs and the integrity of the zinc finger-like motifs are essential for extending the life span of keratinocytes and for stable maintenance of viral genomes.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science