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J Virol. 2012 Sep;86(18):10047-58. doi: 10.1128/JVI.01140-12. Epub 2012 Jul 11.

Phosphorylation regulates binding of the human papillomavirus type 8 E2 protein to host chromosomes.

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  • 1Laboratory of Viral Diseases, NIAID, NIH, Bethesda, Maryland, USA.


The papillomavirus E2 proteins are indispensable for the viral life cycle, and their functions are subject to tight regulation. The E2 proteins undergo posttranslational modifications that regulate their properties and roles in viral transcription, replication, and genome maintenance. During persistent infection, the E2 proteins from many papillomaviruses act as molecular bridges that tether the viral genomes to host chromosomes to retain them within the host nucleus and to partition them to daughter cells. The betapapillomavirus E2 proteins bind to pericentromeric regions of host mitotic chromosomes, including the ribosomal DNA loci. We recently reported that two residues (arginine 250 and serine 253) within the chromosome binding region of the human papillomavirus type 8 (HPV8) E2 protein are required for this binding. In this study, we show that serine 253 is phosphorylated, most likely by protein kinase A, and this modulates the interaction of the E2 protein with cellular chromatin. Furthermore, we show that this phosphorylation occurs in S phase, increases the half-life of the E2 protein, and promotes chromatin binding from S phase through mitosis.

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