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EMBO J. 1993 May;12(5):1847-52.

Enhanced degradation of p53 protein in HPV-6 and BPV-1 E6-immortalized human mammary epithelial cells.

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Department of Radiation Oncology, New England Medical Center Hospitals, Boston, MA.


Normal mammary epithelial cells are efficiently immortalized by the E6 gene of human papillomavirus (HPV)-16, a virus commonly associated with cervical cancers. Surprisingly, introduction of the E6 gene from HPV-6, which is rarely found in cervical cancer, or bovine papillomavirus (BPV)-1, into normal mammary cells resulted in the generation of immortal cell lines. The establishment of HPV-6 and BPV-1 E6-immortalized cells was less efficient and required a longer period in comparison to HPV-16 E6. These HPV-6- and BPV-1 E6-immortalized cells demonstrated dramatically reduced levels of p53 protein by immunoprecipitation. While the half-life of p53 protein in normal mammary epithelial cells was approximately 3 h, it was reduced to approximately 15 min in all the E6-immortalized cells. These results demonstrate that the E6 genes of both high-risk and low-risk papilloma viruses immortalize human mammary epithelial cells and induce a marked degradation of p53 protein in vivo.

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