Apr 16, 2020

CRISPR/Cas9-based inactivation of human papillomavirus oncogenes E6 and E7 induces senescence in cervical cancer cells

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
R. Inturi, Per Jemth


Human papillomaviruses (HPVs) such as HPV16 and HPV18 can cause cancers of the cervix, vagina, vulva, penis, anus and oropharynx. Continuous expression of the HPV viral oncoproteins E6 and E7 are essential for transformation and maintenance of cancer cells. Therefore, therapeutic targeting of E6 and E7 genes can potentially be used to treat HPV-related cancers. Previous CRISPR/Cas9 studies on inactivation of E6 and E7 genes confirmed cell cycle arrest and apoptosis. Here we report that CRISPR/Cas9-based knockout of E6 and E7 can also trigger cellular senescence in HPV18 immortalized HeLa cells. Specifically, HeLa cells in which E6 and E7 were inactivated exhibited characteristic senescence markers like enlarged cell and nucleus surface area, increased {beta}-galactosidase expression, and loss of lamin B1 with detection of cytoplasmic chromatin fragments. Furthermore, the knockout of HPV18 E6 and E7 proteins resulted in upregulation of p53/p21 and pRb/p21 levels in senescent cells. These senescent cells were devoid of characteristic apoptotic markers and re-introduction of codon-modified HPV18 E6 decreased p53 levels. Taken together, our study demonstrates that cellular senescence is as an alternative outcome of HPV oncogene ina...Continue Reading

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