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J Cell Physiol. 2003 Mar;194(3):356-62.

HPV16 E6 and E7 oncoproteins regulate Notch-1 expression and cooperate to induce transformation.

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Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, Loyola University Chicago, Cancer Immunology Program, Maywood, Illinois, USA.


Notch receptor signaling has been implicated in cellular transformation. Notch-1 receptor expression is increased during the progression from cervical intraepithelial lesions (CIN) to invasive cervical carcinoma. Moreover, the main cellular localization of Notch-1 protein changes from cytoplasmic to nuclear with the transition from CIN III to microinvasive carcinoma. Since the E6 and E7 proteins encoded by human papilloma virus (HPV) are a causative agent of cervical carcinoma, this study determined whether E6 and E7 protein expression causes the observed upregulation in Notch-1 expression. Mouse and human primary cell lines were transfected with HPV16 E6 and E7 and Notch-1 expression and activity were analyzed. We show that Notch-1 expression and activity are upregulated by E6 and E7 independently. This was due to both transcriptional and post-transcriptional mechanisms. A protein involved in Notch processing, Presenilin-1 (PS-1), was also upregulated by E6 and E7. In the presence of E6 and E7, Notch-1 protein expression is localized in the cytoplasm. Downregulation of Notch-1 expression in a human cervical carcinoma cell line expressing E6/E7 caused striking inhibition of proliferation in vitro and tumorigenicity in vivo. These data suggest that E6- and E7-mediated upregulation of Notch signaling may contribute to disruption of regular cell growth in cervical cancer.

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