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Oncogene. 1994 Apr;9(4):1225-30.

Modulation of transcriptional regulatory properties of p53 by HPV E6.

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Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, St Mary's Hospital Medical School, London.


The E6 protein encoded by human papillomavirus type 16 (HPV16), a genital virus with oncogenic potential, can target cellular p53 for rapid degradation following the formation of a complex including the two proteins. Some studies suggest that the E6 proteins encoded by HPV6 and 11, viral types which are normally limited to benign lesions, may also interact with p53, although the association is weaker than that seen with HPV16 E6. The present study demonstrates that E6 proteins from HPV16 and HPV6 can modulate the transcriptional regulatory functions of p53 in several cell types. A series of E6 mutants was used to show that association between E6 and p53 is necessary for this activity and that E6 proteins which retain the ability to associate with p53 but show no detectable degradation activity in vitro can, to some extent, abrogate p53 mediated transcriptional trans-regulation. This activity is augmented, however, by the ability of the E6 protein to target bound p53 for rapid degradation. These results suggest that some degree of modulation of p53 function is necessary in the normal viral life cycle but also demonstrate a correlation between the efficiency of this activity and oncogenic potential of the virus.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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