High-risk human papillomaviruses (HPV), exemplified by HPV16/18, are causally linked to human cancers of the anogenital tract, skin, and upper aerodigestive tract. Previously, we identified Ecdysoneless (ECD) protein, the human homolog of the Drosophila ecdysoneless gene, as a novel HPV16 E6–interacting protein. Here, we show that ECD, through its C-terminal region, selectively binds to high-risk but not to low-risk HPV E6 proteins. We demonstrate that ECD is overexpressed in cervical and head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) cell lines as well as in tumor tissues. Using The Cancer Genome Atlas dataset, we show that ECD mRNA overexpression predicts shorter survival in patients with cervical and HNSCC. We demonstrate that ECD knockdown in cervical cancer cell lines led to impaired oncogenic behavior, and ECD co-overexpression with E7 immortalized primary human keratinocytes. RNA-sequencing analyses of SiHa cells upon ECD knockdown showed to aberrations in E6/E7 RNA splicing, as well as RNA splicing of several HPV oncogenesis–linked cellular genes, including splicing of components of mRNA splicing machinery itself. Taken together, our results support a novel role of ECD in viral and cellular mRNA splicing to support HPV-driven oncogenesis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Medicine