Cancer-causing human papillomavirus E6 proteins display major differences in the phospho-regulation of their PDZ interactions

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


  • Siaw Shi Boon
  • Vjekoslav Tomaić
  • Miranda Thomas
  • Sally Roberts
  • Lawrence Banks

Colleges, School and Institutes


UNLABELLED: Previous studies have shown that the cancer-causing high-risk human papillomavirus (HPV) E6 oncoproteins have PDZ binding potential, an activity which is important for their ability to support the viral life cycle and to cooperate in the induction of malignancy. However, PDZ interactions are not constitutive, and they can be negatively regulated by phosphorylation within the E6 PDZ binding motif (PBM). In this study, we have investigated the differential regulation of the HPV E6 PBMs from diverse high-risk HPV types. We show that, depending on the HPV type, PDZ binding activity can be regulated by phosphorylation with protein kinase A (PKA) or AKT, which, in turn, inhibits PDZ recognition. Such regulation is highly conserved between E6 proteins derived from HPV-16, HPV-18, and HPV-58 while being somewhat weaker or absent from other types such as HPV-31, HPV-33, and HPV-51. In the case of HPV31, PKA phosphorylation occurs within the core of the E6 protein and has no effect on PDZ interactions, and this demonstrates a surprising degree of heterogeneity among the different high-risk HPV E6 oncoproteins in how they are regulated by different cellular signaling pathways.

IMPORTANCE: This study demonstrated that the cancer-causing HPV E6 oncoproteins are all subject to posttranslational modification of their extreme C-terminal PDZ binding motifs through phosphorylation. However, the identities of the kinase are not the same for all HPV types. This demonstrates a very important divergence between these HPVs, and it suggests that changes in cell signaling pathways have different consequences for different high-risk virus infections and their associated malignancies.

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Copyright © 2015, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1579-86
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of virology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2015