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Carcinogenesis

Year: 2009  |  Volume: 30  |  Issue: 8  |  Page No.: 1336 - 1344

Interferon-beta treatment increases human papillomavirus early gene transcription and viral plasmid genome replication by activating interferon regulatory factor (IRF)-1

M. J Lace, J. R Anson, A. J Klingelhutz, H Harada, T Taniguchi, A. D Bossler, T. H Haugen and L. P. Turek

Abstract

Interferons (IFNs) have been used to treat mucosal lesions caused by human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, such as intraepithelial precursor lesions to cancer of the uterine cervix, genital warts or recurrent respiratory papillomatosis, to potentially reduce or eliminate replicating HPV plasmid genomes. Mucosal HPVs have evolved mechanisms that impede IFN-β synthesis and downregulate genes induced by IFN. Here we show that these HPV types directly subvert a cellular transcriptional response to IFN-β as a potential boost in infection. Treatment with low levels of human IFN-β induced initial amplification of HPV-16 and HPV-11 plasmid genomes and increased HPV-16 or HPV-31 DNA copy numbers up to 6-fold in HPV-immortalized keratinocytes. IFN treatment also increased early gene transcription from the major early gene promoters in HPV-16, HPV-31 and HPV-11. Furthermore, mutagenesis of the viral genomes and ectopic interferon regulatory factor (IRF) expression in transfection experiments using IRF-1–/–, IRF-2–/– and dual knockout cell lines determined that these responses are due to the activation of IRF-1 interaction with a conserved interferon response element demonstrated in several mucosal HPV early gene promoters. Our results provide a molecular explanation for the varying clinical outcomes of IFN therapy of papillomatoses and define an assay for the modulation of the HPV gene program by IFNs as well as other cytokines and signaling molecules in infection and therapy.

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