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Cancer Res. 1990 Nov 15;50(22):7324-32.

Differential response of nontumorigenic and tumorigenic human papillomavirus type 16-positive epithelial cells to transforming growth factor beta 1.

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  • 1Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island 02912.


The transforming growth factor (TGF) beta s are multifunctional polypeptide growth factors with diverse biological effects, including inhibition of epithelial cell proliferation both in vitro and in vivo. To investigate the possible role of TGF beta 1 in the regulation of papillomavirus infection and papillomavirus-associated transformation, we compared the response to TGF beta 1 of normal keratinocytes, human papillomavirus, type 16 (HPV 16)-positive-immortalized keratinocytes (nontumorigenic), and HPV 16-positive cervical carcinoma cells (tumorigenic) with respect to DNA synthesis and protooncogene expression. All HPV 16-immortalized cell lines were nearly as inhibited by TGF beta 1 as normal keratinocytes, whereas two cervical carcinoma cell lines (Caski and Siha) were refractory to growth inhibition by TGF beta 1. Cell surface receptors for TGF beta 1 were present on both normal and carcinoma cell lines. In all cases, growth inhibition by TGF beta 1 was accompanied by suppression of Steady-state levels of c-myc mRNA. In contrast, TGF beta 1 induced the expression of c-jun mRNA transcripts in normal, immortalized, and tumorigenic cells. We also studied the effect of TGF beta 1 on HPV 16 mRNA expression. Steady-state levels of HPV 16 mRNA transcripts were suppressed by TGF beta 1 in the nontumorigenic HPK cells but were unaffected in the tumorigenic lines. These findings suggest that TGF beta 1 may be an in vivo modulator of HPV infection and that loss of responsiveness to this growth inhibitory signal may be involved in HPV-associated malignant transformation.

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