Molecular variants of human papilloma virus 16 E2, E4, E5, E6 and E7 genes associated with cervical neoplasia in Romanian patients
Previously, we found that the E5 protein can be expressed in HPV-16 infected precancerous lesions and cervical cancer . In this study, we investigated the presence of sequence variants of E5 in HPV-16 infected tissues. Toward this end, we amplified the E5 gene by polymerase chain reaction from 29 HPV-16 infected tissues including eight normal tissues, seven high grade neoplastic tissues (high grade squamous intraepithelial lesions (HSIL) and 14 cervical cancer tissues. Sequence analysis demonstrated that there were three mutational hot spots at positions 3979, 4042, and 4077 of the HPV-16 DNA; these and other mutations resulted in six variants in the E5 sequence. This resulted in four E5 protein mutants, named WTE5 [wild type E5 protein], 14E5, 21E5 and 56E5. Functional analysis of these four mutant proteins revealed that the transforming activities of 14E5, 21E5 and 56E5 were 0.95, 0.59, and 0.89 fold of WTE5, respectively. Although E5 was expressed in all of the HSIL and cervical cancer tissues, but in only one of the eight normal tissues tested, only WT E5 protein was found in HSIL while in cervical cancer tissues both WT and mutant E5 proteins were detected. Since these E5 proteins exhibited the same in vitro transforming activity, these data suggest that expression of E5 is important in development and progression toward malignancy but mutation of E5 does not affect the transformation process.