The Promotion of Genomic Instability in Human Fibroblasts by Adenovirus 12 Early Region 1B 55K Protein in the Absence of Viral Infection

Tareq Abualfaraj, Nafiseh Chalabi Hagkarim, Robert Hollingworth, Laura Grange, Satpal Jhujh, Grant S Stewart, Roger J Grand

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The adenovirus 12 early region 1B55K (Ad12E1B55K) protein has long been known to cause non-random damage to chromosomes 1 and 17 in human cells. These sites, referred to as Ad12 modification sites, have marked similarities to classic fragile sites. In the present report we have investigated the effects of Ad12E1B55K on the cellular DNA damage response and on DNA replication, considering our increased understanding of the pathways involved. We have compared human skin fibroblasts expressing Ad12E1B55K (55K+HSF), but no other viral proteins, with the parental cells. Appreciable chromosomal damage was observed in 55K+HSFs compared to parental cells. Similarly, an increased number of micronuclei was observed in 55K+HSFs, both in cycling cells and after DNA damage. We compared DNA replication in the two cell populations; 55K+HSFs showed increased fork stalling and a decrease in fork speed. When replication stress was introduced with hydroxyurea the percentage of stalled forks and replication speeds were broadly similar, but efficiency of fork restart was significantly reduced in 55K+HSFs. After DNA damage, appreciably more foci were formed in 55K+HSFs up to 48 h post treatment. In addition, phosphorylation of ATM substrates was greater in Ad12E1B55K-expressing cells following DNA damage. Following DNA damage, 55K+HSFs showed an inability to arrest in cell cycle, probably due to the association of Ad12E1B55K with p53. To confirm that Ad12E1B55K was targeting components of the double-strand break repair pathways, co-immunoprecipitation experiments were performed which showed an association of the viral protein with ATM, MRE11, NBS1, DNA-PK, BLM, TOPBP1 and p53, as well as with components of the replisome, MCM3, MCM7, ORC1, DNA polymerase δ, TICRR and cdc45, which may account for some of the observed effects on DNA replication. We conclude that Ad12E1B55K impacts the cellular DNA damage response pathways and the replisome at multiple points through protein-protein interactions, causing genomic instability.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2444
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 6 Dec 2021


  • Adenovirus E1B Proteins/metabolism
  • Adenoviruses, Human/metabolism
  • Cells, Cultured
  • DNA/chemistry
  • DNA Damage
  • DNA Repair
  • DNA Replication
  • Fibroblasts
  • Genomic Instability
  • Humans
  • Nucleic Acid Conformation


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