• Inhibition of Epstein-Barr Virus Replication in Human Papillomavirus-Immortalized Keratinocytes.

Inhibition of Epstein-Barr Virus Replication in Human Papillomavirus-Immortalized Keratinocytes.

Journal of virology (2018-11-02)
J T Guidry, J E Myers, M Bienkowska-Haba, W K Songock, X Ma, M Shi, C O Nathan, J M Bodily, M J Sapp, R S Scott

Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is implicated in the pathogenesis of human papillomavirus (HPV)-associated oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC). EBV-associated cancers harbor a latent EBV infection characterized by a lack of viral replication and the expression of viral oncogenes. Cellular changes promoted by HPV are comparable to those shown to facilitate EBV latency, though whether HPV-positive cells support a latent EBV infection has not been demonstrated. Using a model of direct EBV infection into HPV16-immortalized tonsillar cells grown in organotypic raft culture, we showed robust EBV replication in HPV-negative rafts but little to no replication in HPV-immortalized rafts. The reduced EBV replication was independent of immortalization, as human telomerase-immortalized normal oral keratinocytes supported robust EBV replication. Furthermore, we observed reduced EBV lytic gene expression and increased expression of EBER1, a noncoding RNA highly expressed in latently infected cells, in the presence of HPV. The use of human foreskin keratinocyte rafts expressing the HPV16 E6 and/or E7 oncogene(s) (HPV E6 and E7 rafts) showed that E7 was sufficient to reduce EBV replication. EBV replication is dependent upon epithelial differentiation and the differentiation-dependent expression of the transcription factors KLF4 and PRDM1. While KLF4 and PRDM1 levels were unaltered, the expression levels of KLF4 transcriptional targets, including late differentiation markers, were reduced in HPV E6 and E7 rafts compared to their levels in parental rafts. However, the HPV E7-mediated block in EBV replication correlated with delayed expression of early differentiation markers. Overall, this study reveals an HPV16-mediated block in EBV replication, through E7, that may facilitate EBV latency and long-term persistence in the tumor context.IMPORTANCE Using a model examining the establishment of EBV infection in HPV-immortalized tissues, we showed an HPV-induced interruption of the normal EBV life cycle reminiscent of a latent EBV infection. Our data support the notion that a persistent EBV epithelial infection depends upon preexisting cellular alterations and suggest the ability of HPV to promote such changes. More importantly, these findings introduce a model for how EBV coinfection may influence HPV-positive (HPV-pos) OSCC pathogenesis. Latently EBV-infected epithelial cells, as well as other EBV-associated head-and-neck carcinomas, exhibit oncogenic phenotypes commonly seen in HPV-pos OSCC. Therefore, an HPV-induced shift in the EBV life cycle toward latency would not only facilitate EBV persistence but also provide additional viral oncogene expression, which can contribute to the rapid progression of HPV-pos OSCC. These findings provide a step toward defining a role for EBV as a cofactor in HPV-positive oropharyngeal tumors.