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J Virol. 2013 Apr;87(8):4461-74. doi: 10.1128/JVI.01803-12. Epub 2013 Feb 6.

The transcription factors TBX2 and TBX3 interact with human papillomavirus 16 (HPV16) L2 and repress the long control region of HPVs.

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Department of Microbiology and Hygiene, University Medical Center of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Mainz, Germany.


The minor capsid protein L2 of human papillomaviruses (HPVs) has multiple functions during the viral life cycle. Although L2 is required for effective invasion and morphogenesis, only a few cellular interaction partners are known so far. Using yeast two-hybrid screening, we identified the transcription factor TBX2 as a novel interaction partner of HPV type 16 (HPV16) L2. Coimmunoprecipitations and immunofluorescence analyses confirmed the L2-TBX2 interaction and revealed that L2 also interacts with TBX3, another member of the T-box family. Transcription of the early genes during HPV infection is under the control of an upstream enhancer and early promoter region, the long control region (LCR). In promoter-reporter gene assays, we observed that TBX2 and TBX3 repress transcription from the LCR and that this effect is enhanced by L2. Repression of the HPV LCR by TBX2/3 seems to be a conserved mechanism, as it was also observed with the LCRs of different HPV types. Finally, interaction of TBX2 with the LCR was detected by chromatin immunoprecipitation, and we found a strong colocalization of L2 and TBX2 in HPV16-positive cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) I-II tissue sections. These results suggest that TBX2/3 might play a role in the regulation of HPV gene expression during the viral life cycle.

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