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J Virol. 2005 May;79(9):5839-46.

Endoplasmic reticulum-localized human papillomavirus type 16 E5 protein alters endosomal pH but not trans-Golgi pH.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, Georgetown University Medical School, Basic Science Building, Room 113, 3900 Reservoir Rd., NW, Washington, DC 20057, USA.


The human papillomavirus type 16 (HPV-16) E5 protein is a small, hydrophobic polypeptide that is expressed in virus-infected keratinocytes and alters receptor signaling pathways, apoptotic responses, and endosomal pH. Despite its ability to inhibit endosomal acidification, the HPV-16 E5 protein is found predominantly in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), suggesting that its effect may be indirect and perhaps global. To determine whether E5 alters the pHs of additional intracellular compartments, we transduced human keratinocytes with a codon-optimized E5 vector and then quantified endosomal and trans-Golgi pHs using sensitive, compartment-specific, ratiometric pHluorin constructs. E5 protein increased endosomal pH from 5.9 to 6.9 but did not affect the normal trans-Golgi pH of 6.3. Confirming the lack of alteration in trans-Golgi pH, we observed no alterations in the acidification-dependent processing of the proH3 protein. C-terminal deletions of E5, which retained normal expression and localization in the ER, were defective for endosomal alkalization. Thus, E5 does not uniformly alkalinize intracellular compartments, and its C-terminal 10 amino acids appear to mediate interactions with critical ER targets that modulate proton pump function and/or localization.

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