Analysis of the roles of E6 binding to E6TP1 and nuclear localization in the human papillomavirus type 31 life cycle.

PMID 16999984


The E6 oncoproteins of high-risk human papillomaviruses provide important functions not only for malignant transformation but also in the productive viral life cycle. E6 proteins have been shown to bind to a number of cellular factors, but only a limited number of analyses have investigated the effects of these interactions on the viral life cycle. In this study, we investigated the consequences of HPV 31 E6 binding to E6TP1, a putative Rap1 GAP protein. HPV 16 E6 has been shown to bind as well as induce the rapid turnover of E6TP1, and similar effects were observed with HPV 31 E6. Mutation of amino acid 128 in HPV 31 E6 was found to abrogate the ability to bind and degrade E6TP1 but did not alter binding to another alpha-helical domain protein, E6AP. When HPV 31 genomes containing mutations at amino acid 128 were transfected into human keratinocytes, the viral DNAs were not stably maintained as episomes indicating the importance of this residue for pathogenesis. Many E6 binding partners including E6TP1 are cytoplasmic proteins, but E6 has been also reported to be localized to the nucleus. We therefore investigated the importance of E6 localization to the nucleus in the viral life cycle. Using a fusion of E6 to Green Fluorescent Protein, we mapped one component of the nuclear localization sequences to residues 121 to 124 of HPV 31 E6. Mutation of these residues in the context of the HPV 31 genome abrogated the ability for episomes to be stably maintained and impaired the ability to extend the life span of cells. These studies identify two activities of HPV 31 E6 that are important for its function in the viral life cycle and for extension of cell life span.