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J Virol. 2011 Feb;85(4):1757-64. doi: 10.1128/JVI.01756-10. Epub 2010 Dec 1.

A systematic analysis of human papillomavirus (HPV) E6 PDZ substrates identifies MAGI-1 as a major target of HPV type 16 (HPV-16) and HPV-18 whose loss accompanies disruption of tight junctions.

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International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, Padriciano 99, I-34149 Trieste, Italy.


The E6 proteins from high-risk, cancer-causing types of human papillomavirus (HPV) are characterized by the presence of a PDZ (PSD95/Dlg/ZO-1) binding motif in their extreme carboxy termini, through which they interact with a number of cellular PDZ domain-containing substrates. In order to ascertain how many of these are degraded by E6 in vivo, we performed an extensive analysis of the effects of E6 ablation on the expression levels of a number of previously reported E6 PDZ substrates. Using HPV type 16 (HPV-16)-positive CaSKi cells and HPV-18-positive HeLa cells, we have found that MAGI-1 is a major degradation target of both HPV-16 and HPV-18 E6. In contrast, hDlg, hScrib, PTPN3, TIP2, FAP1, and PSD95 all exhibit various degrees of susceptibility to E6-induced degradation, and a high degree of HPV type specificity is observed for certain substrates. We also show that E6 preferentially targets MAGI-1 within the nucleus and at membrane sites. One of the direct consequences of MAGI-1 degradation is a loss of tight-junction integrity, as determined by mislocalization of the tight-junction protein ZO-1. Ablation of E6 expression restores tight junctions, and this restoration is dependent on the presence of MAGI-1. These results demonstrate that oncogenic HPV E6 proteins disrupt cellular tight junctions through the degradation of MAGI-1, and they provide further evidence of how the PDZ binding potential of E6 can contribute to HPV-induced malignancy.

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