CCCTC-Binding Factor Recruitment to the Early Region of the Human Papillomavirus Type 18 Genome Regulates Viral Oncogene Expression: CTCF Controls HPV Early Gene Expression

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


  • Christian Paris
  • Ieisha Pentland
  • Ian Groves
  • David Roberts
  • Simon J Powis
  • Nicholas Coleman

Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • University of Cambridge
  • University of St Andrews


Host cell differentiation-dependent regulation of human papillomavirus (HPV) gene expression is required for productive infection. The host cell CCCTC-binding factor (CTCF) functions in genome-wide chromatin organization and gene regulation. We have identified a conserved CTCF binding site in the E2 open reading frame of high-risk HPV types. Using organotypic raft cultures of primary human keratinocytes containing high-risk HPV18 genomes, we show that CTCF recruitment to this conserved site regulates viral gene expression in differentiating epithelia. Mutation of the CTCF binding site increases the expression of the viral oncoproteins E6 and E7, and promotes host cell proliferation. Loss of CTCF binding results in a reduction of a specific alternatively spliced transcript expressed from the early gene region concomitant with an increase in the abundance of unspliced early transcripts. We conclude that high-risk HPV types have evolved to recruit CTCF to the early gene region to control the balance and complexity of splicing events that regulate viral oncoprotein expression.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4770-4785
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of virology
Issue number9
Early online date18 Feb 2015
Publication statusPublished - May 2015


  • Papillomavirus, life cycle, Gene expression, CTCF, Splicing