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J Gen Virol. 2011 Aug;92(Pt 8):1778-86. doi: 10.1099/vir.0.031526-0. Epub 2011 Apr 6.

p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase is crucial for bovine papillomavirus type-1 transformation of equine fibroblasts.

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College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences, University of Glasgow, Glasgow G61 1QH, UK.


Equine sarcoids represent the most common skin tumours in equids worldwide, characterized by extensive invasion and infiltration of lymphatics, rare regression and high recurrence after surgical intervention. Bovine papillomavirus type-1 (BPV-1) and less commonly BPV-2 are the causative agents of the diseases. It has been demonstrated that BPV-1 viral gene expression is necessary for maintaining the transformation phenotype. However, the underlying mechanism for BPV-1 transformation remains largely unknown, and the cellular factors involved in transformation are not fully understood. Previously mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signalling pathway has been shown to be important for cellular transformation. This study investigated the role of p38 MAPK (p38) in the transformation of equine fibroblasts by BPV-1. Elevated expression of phosphorylated p38 was observed in BPV-1 expressing fibroblasts due to the expression of BPV-1 E5 and E6. The phosphorylation of the MK2 kinase, a substrate of p38, was also enhanced. Inhibition of p38 activity by its selective inhibitor SB203580 changed cell morphology, reduced the proliferation of sarcoid fibroblasts and inhibited cellular invasiveness, indicating the indispensable role of p38 in BPV-1 transformation of equine fibroblasts. These findings provide new insights into the pathogenesis of equine sarcoids and suggest that p38 could be a potential target for equine sarcoid therapy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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