Up-regulation of hormone response of human papillomavirus type 16 expression and increased DNA-protein binding by consensus mutations of viral glucocorticoid response elements

Suvarnalatha Khare, Kotlo U. Kumar, Shou Ching Tang, Mary M. Pater, Alan Pater

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10 Scopus citations


Human papillomaviruses (HPVs) and steroid hormones are linked to the development of cervical cancer. Studies from our laboratory and others showed that the steroid glucocorticoid and progesterone hormones activated the expression of HPV type 16. This activation was attributed to the specific interaction of the glucocorticoid receptor (GR) with the three glucocorticoid response elements (GREs) in the HPV16 regulatory region. In the present study, we first examined the glucocorticoid response mediated through the GREs, using GRE consensus (GREc) mutations and expression assays from a heterologous basal promoter. Both single and triple HPV16 GREc constructs increased expression in the presence of the dexamethasone glucocorticoid in HeLa cervical carcinoma cells and primary baby rat kidney epithelial cells, in comparison with the triple wild-type GREs. Further, the hormone increased significantly the expression of the viral E6-E7 oncogene mRNA from intact HPV in primary human ectocervical cells in in situ hybridization assays. Three in vitro assays of DNA-protein interaction with oligonucleotides and HeLa cell extracts showed a higher binding of protein to two of the HPV16 GREcs than to the wild-type GREs. This applied especially to the GRE containing an overlapping NF1 half site, that also had a greater differential induction by dexamethasone of expression in vivo. The NF1 site was mutated in the GREc that also was bound by unique, lower-mobility complexes in electrophoretic mobility shift assays. UV-crosslinking assays confirmed the increased binding and showed binding by a 96-kDa protein, probably the GR. Our results show an important role of glucocorticoids in HPV16 expression, The direct action through the HPV16 GREs is suggested to be mediated by the hormone-activated GR in association with other factors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)254-262
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Medical Virology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 1996



  • Consensus
  • GREs
  • Hormone
  • HPV16 transcription
  • Protein-DNA binding

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Virology
  • Infectious Diseases

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