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J Virol. 2012 Aug;86(15):7943-52. doi: 10.1128/JVI.00132-12. Epub 2012 May 23.

Human papillomavirus type 8 E6 oncoprotein inhibits transcription of the PDZ protein syntenin-2.

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Institute of Virology, University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany.


The E6 proteins from high-risk alpha human papillomavirus (HPV) types (e.g., HPV16) are characterized by the presence of a PDZ-binding motif through which they interact with a number of cellular PDZ domain-containing substrates and cooperate in their degradation. The ability of these E6 proteins to bind to PDZ domain proteins correlates with the oncogenic potential of the virus. The E6 proteins of oncogenic HPV from the genus Betapapillomavirus (betaPV, e.g., HPV8) do not encode a PDZ-binding motif. We found that the PDZ domain protein syntenin-2 is transcriptionally downregulated in primary human epidermal keratinocytes (PHEK) by HPV8 E6. The mRNA levels of the known HPV16 E6 PDZ protein targets Dlg, Scribble, Magi-1, Magi-3, PSD95, and Mupp1 were not changed by HPV8 E6. Decreased protein levels of syntenin-2 were observed in cell extracts from PHEK expressing HPV5, -8, -16, -20, and -38 E6 but not in HPV1 and -4 E6-positive keratinocytes. Surprisingly, HPV16 E6 also repressed transcription of syntenin-2 but with a much lower efficiency than HPV8 E6. In healthy human skin, syntenin-2 expression is localized in suprabasal epidermal layers. In organotypic skin cultures, the differentiation-dependent expression of syntenin-2 was absent in HPV8 E6- and E6E7-expressing cells. In basal cell carcinomas of the skin, syntenin-2 was not detectable, whereas in squamous cell carcinomas, expression was located in differentiated areas. Short hairpin RNA-mediated knockdown of syntenin-2 led to an inhibition of differentiation and an increase in the proliferation capacity in PHEK. These results identified syntenin-2 as the first PDZ domain protein controlled by HPV8 and HPV16 at the mRNA level.

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