We have shown previously that introduction of the human papillomavirus type 16 (HPV16) or HPV18 genome into human mammary epithelial cells induces their immortalization. These immortalized cells have reduced growth factor requirements. We report here that transfection with a single HPV16 gene E6 is sufficient to immortalize these cells and reduce their growth factor requirements. The RB protein is normal in these cells, but the p53 protein is sharply reduced, as shown by immunoprecipitation with anti-p53 antibody (pAB 421). We infer that the E6 protein reduces the p53 protein perhaps by signalling its destruction by the ubiquitin system. The HPV-transforming gene E7 was unable to immortalize human mammary epithelial cells. Thus, cell-specific factors may determine which viral oncogene plays a major role in oncogenesis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science