In order to complete their life cycle, papillomaviruses have evolved to manipulate a plethora of cellular pathways. The products of the human Alphapapillomavirus E6 proteins specifically interact with and target PDZ containing proteins for degradation. This viral phenotype has been suggested to play a role in viral oncogenesis. To analyze the association of HPV E6 mediated PDZ-protein degradation with cervical oncogenesis, a high-throughput cell culture assay was developed. Degradation of an epitope tagged human MAGI1 isoform was visualized by immunoblot. The correlation between HPV E6-induced degradation of hMAGI1 and epidemiologically determined HPV oncogenicity was evaluated using a Bayesian approach within a phylogenetic context. All tested oncogenic types degraded the PDZ-containing protein hMAGI1d; however, E6 proteins isolated from several related albeit non-oncogenic viral types were equally efficient at degrading hMAGI1. The relationship between both traits (oncogenicity and PDZ degradation potential) is best explained by a model in which the potential to degrade PDZ proteins was acquired prior to the oncogenic phenotype. This analysis provides evidence that the ancestor of both oncogenic and non-oncogenic HPVs acquired the potential to degrade human PDZ-containing proteins. This suggests that HPV E6 directed degradation of PDZ-proteins represents an ancient ecological niche adaptation. Phylogenetic modeling indicates that this phenotype is not specifically correlated with oncogenic risk, but may act as an enabling phenotype. The role of PDZ protein degradation in HPV fitness and oncogenesis needs to be interpreted in the context of Alphapapillomavirus evolution.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology