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J Biol Chem. 1990 Aug 5;265(22):12782-5.

Identification of HPV-16 E7 peptides that are potent antagonists of E7 binding to the retinoblastoma suppressor protein.

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Department of Cancer Research, Merck Sharp & Dohme Research Laboratories, West Point, Pennsylvania 19486.


Complex formation between the human papilloma virus type-16 E7 protein (HPV-16 E7) and the retinoblastoma suppressor protein (pRB) is believed to be important in the process of cellular transformation that leads to cervical carcinoma. Utilizing an in vitro solution assay as well as a plate binding assay that measures the association between HPV-16 E7 and pRB proteins, we have examined a series of synthetic HPV-16 E7 peptides. HPV-16 E7 peptides which lie between amino acid residues 14 and 32 were found to be potent inhibitors of E7/pRB binding. The minimal peptide structure that possessed full antagonist activity was N-acetyl-E7-(21-29)-peptide amide. This peptide inhibited 100% of E7/pRB binding and exhibited an IC50 of 40 nM in the plate binding assay. A purified beta-galactosidase-E7 fusion protein exhibited an IC50 of 2 nM in the same assay. These results suggest that other regions of the E7 molecule in addition to amino acids 21-29 may contributed to E7/pRB interaction. Analysis of E7-(20-29)-peptides containing single amino acid substitutions suggests that Cys24, Tyr23, Tyr25, Asp21, and Glu26 are important residues for maintaining maximal antagonist activity. This series of peptides should prove useful in analyzing the biological consequences of E7/pRB binding in HPV-infected cells.

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