Journal of virology

Oncoprotein E7 from beta human papillomavirus 38 induces formation of an inhibitory complex for a subset of p53-regulated promoters.

PMID 24006445


Our previous studies on cutaneous beta human papillomavirus 38 (HPV38) E6 and E7 oncoproteins highlighted a novel activity of IκB kinase beta (IKKβ) in the nucleus of human keratinocytes, where it phosphorylates and stabilizes ΔNp73α, an antagonist of p53/p73 functions. Here, we further characterize the role of the IKKβ nuclear form. We show that IKKβ nuclear translocation and ΔNp73α accumulation are mediated mainly by HPV38 E7 oncoprotein. Chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP)/Re-ChIP experiments showed that ΔNp73α and IKKβ are part, together with two epigenetic enzymes DNA methyltransferase 1 (DNMT1) and the enhancer of zeste homolog 2 (EZH2), of a transcriptional regulatory complex that inhibits the expression of some p53-regulated genes, such as PIG3. Recruitment to the PIG3 promoter of EZH2 and DNMT1 resulted in trimethylation of histone 3 on lysine 27 and in DNA methylation, respectively, both events associated with gene expression silencing. Decreases in the intracellular levels of HPV38 E7 or ΔNp73α strongly affected the recruitment of the inhibitory transcriptional complex to the PIG3 promoter, with consequent restoration of p53-regulated gene expression. Finally, the ΔNp73α/IKKβ/DNMT1/EZH2 complex appears to bind a subset of p53-regulated promoters. In fact, the complex is efficiently recruited to several promoters of genes encoding proteins involved in DNA repair and apoptosis, whereas it does not influence the expression of the prosurvival factor Survivin. In summary, our data show that HPV38 via E7 protein promotes the formation of a multiprotein complex that negatively regulates the expression of several p53-regulated genes.