How human papillomavirus replication and immune evasion strategies take advantage of the host DNA damage repair machinery

Valentina Bordignon, Enea Gino Di Domenico, Elisabetta Trento, Giovanna D'Agosto, Ilaria Cavallo, Martina Pontone, Fulvia Pimpinelli, Luciano Mariani, Fabrizio Ensoli

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The DNA damage response (DDR) is a complex signalling network activated when DNA is altered by intrinsic or extrinsic agents. DDR plays important roles in genome stability and cell cycle regulation, as well as in tumour transformation. Viruses have evolved successful life cycle strategies in order to ensure a chronic persistence in the host, virtually avoiding systemic sequelae and death. This process promotes the periodic shedding of large amounts of infectious particles to maintain a virus reservoir in individual hosts, while allowing virus spreading within the community. To achieve such a successful lifestyle, the human papilloma virus (HPV) needs to escape the host defence systems. The key to understanding how this is achieved is in the virus replication process that provides by itself an evasion mechanism by inhibiting and delaying the host immune response against the viral infection. Numerous studies have demonstrated that HPV exploits both the ataxia-telangiectasia mutated (ATM) and ataxia-telangiectasia and rad3-related (ATR) DDR pathways to replicate its genome and maintain a persistent infection by downregulating the innate and cell-mediated immunity. This review outlines how HPV interacts with the ATM-and ATR-dependent DDR machinery during the viral life cycle to create an environment favourable to viral replication, and how the interaction with the signal transducers and activators of transcription (STAT) protein family and the deregulation of the Janus kinase (JAK)-STAT pathways may impact the expression of interferon-inducible genes and the innate immune responses.

Original languageEnglish
Article number390
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 19 2017


  • ATM
  • ATR
  • DNA damage repair (DDR)
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV)
  • IFN-γ
  • Viral immune evasion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Virology


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