Topoisomerase 2β induces dna breaks to regulate human papillomavirus replication

Paul Kaminski, Shiyuan Hong*, Takeyuki Kono, Paul Hoover, Laimonis Laimins

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Topoisomerases regulate higher-order chromatin structures through the transient breaking and religating of one or both strands of the phosphodiester back-bone of duplex DNA. TOP2β is a type II topoisomerase that induces double-strand DNA breaks at topologically associated domains (TADS) to relieve torsional stress aris-ing during transcription or replication. TADS are anchored by CCCTC-binding factor (CTCF) and SMC1 cohesin proteins in complexes with TOP2β. Upon DNA cleavage, a covalent intermediate DNA-TOP2β (TOP2βcc) is transiently generated to allow for strand passage. The tyrosyl-DNA phosphodiesterase TDP2 can resolve TOP2βcc, but failure to do so quickly can lead to long-lasting DNA breaks. Given the role of CTCF/ SMC1 proteins in the human papillomavirus (HPV) life cycle, we investigated whether TOP2β proteins contribute to HPV pathogenesis. Our studies demonstrated that levels of both TOP2β and TDP2 were substantially increased in cells with high-risk HPV genomes, and this correlated with large amounts of DNA breaks. Knockdown of TOP2β with short hairpin RNAs (shRNAs) reduced DNA breaks by over 50% as determined through COMET assays. Furthermore, this correlated with substantially reduced formation of repair foci such as phosphorylated H2AX (γH2AX), phosphorylated CHK1 (pCHK1), and phosphorylated SMC1 (pSMC1) indicative of impaired activation of DNA damage repair pathways. Importantly, knockdown of TOP2β also blocked HPV genome replication. Our previous studies demonstrated that CTCF/SMC1 factors associate with HPV genomes at sites in the late regions of HPV31, and these correspond to regions that also bind TOP2β. This study identifies TOP2β as responsible for enhanced levels of DNA breaks in HPV-positive cells and as a regulator of viral replication.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere00005-21
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2021


  • CTCF
  • Cohesin
  • DNA damage
  • DNA replication
  • HPV
  • Topoisomerase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Virology


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