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Virology. 2000 Nov 25;277(2):411-9.

The human papillomavirus E7 protein is able to inhibit the antiviral and anti-growth functions of interferon-alpha.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland 4102, Australia.


It is now well recognized that cervical cancer is caused by infection with certain human papillomavirus (HPV) subtypes and while interferon-alpha (IFN-alpha) is used to treat HPV-infected lesions, HPV appears to have developed a means to avoid the effects of IFN-alpha. Clinically, resistance appears to be associated with the expression of the E7 oncoprotein. Here we investigated the effects of expression in cells of the E7 protein from high- and low-risk papillomavirus subtypes on a range of responses to IFN-alpha. 2fTGH, a cell line dependent on IFN-alpha for growth in selection medium, grew significantly less well in the presence of E7, and the antiproliferative effects of IFN-alpha upon epithelial cells was lost upon E7 expression. The antiviral effects of IFN-alpha were abrogated in E7-expressing cells. Loss of response to IFN-alpha was found to occur in both high- and low-risk papillomaviruses. Finally, deletion of amino acids 21-24 of HPV type 16 E7 protein partially reversed repression. We conclude that E7 inhibits the functional effects of IFN-alpha and that this property is shared by all HPV subtypes tested.

Copyright 2000 Academic Press.

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