The oncoprotein E7 from human papillomavirus-16 (HPV-16 E7) plays a pivotal role in HPV postinfective carcinogenesis, and its physical interaction with host cell targets is essential to its activity. We identified a novel cellular partner for the viral oncoprotein: the actin-binding protein gelsolin (GSN), a key regulator of actin filament assembly and disassembly. In fact, biochemical analyses, generation of a 3D molecular interaction model and the use of specific HPV-16 E7 mutants provided clear cut evidence supporting the crucial role of HPV-16 E7 in affecting GSN integrity and function in human immortalized keratinocytes. Accordingly, functional analyses clearly suggested that stable HPV-16 E7 expression induced an imbalance between polymeric and monomeric actin in favor of the former. These events also lead to changes of cell cycle (increased S phase), to the inhibition of apoptosis and to the increase of cell survival. These results provide support to the hypotheses generated from the 3D molecular interaction model and encourage the design of small molecules hindering HPV-induced host cell reprogramming by specifically targeting HPV-16 E7-expressing cells.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research