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HIV-1 Reverse Transcriptase Expression in HPV16-Infected Epidermoid Carcinoma Cells Alters E6 Expression and Cellular Metabolism, and Induces a Hybrid Epithelial/Mesenchymal Cell Phenotype.

  • Zhitkevich, Alla
  • Bayurova, Ekaterina
  • Avdoshina, Darya
  • Zakirova, Natalia
  • Frolova, Galina
  • Jansons, Juris
  • Chowdhury, Sona
  • Ivanov, Alexander
  • Gordeychuk, Ilya
  • Palefsky, Joel
  • Isaguliants, Maria
Publication Date
Jan 26, 2024
eScholarship - University of California
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The high incidence of epithelial malignancies in HIV-1 infected individuals is associated with co-infection with oncogenic viruses, such as high-risk human papillomaviruses (HR HPVs), mostly HPV16. The molecular mechanisms underlying the HIV-1-associated increase in epithelial malignancies are not fully understood. A collaboration between HIV-1 and HR HPVs in the malignant transformation of epithelial cells has long been anticipated. Here, we delineated the effects of HIV-1 reverse transcriptase on the in vitro and in vivo properties of HPV16-infected cervical cancer cells. A human cervical carcinoma cell line infected with HPV16 (Ca Ski) was made to express HIV-1 reverse transcriptase (RT) by lentiviral transduction. The levels of the mRNA of the E6 isoforms and of the factors characteristic to the epithelial/mesenchymal transition were assessed by real-time RT-PCR. The parameters of glycolysis and mitochondrial respiration were determined using Seahorse technology. RT expressing Ca Ski subclones were assessed for the capacity to form tumors in nude mice. RT expression increased the expression of the E6*I isoform, modulated the expression of E-CADHERIN and VIMENTIN, indicating the presence of a hybrid epithelial/mesenchymal phenotype, enhanced glycolysis, and inhibited mitochondrial respiration. In addition, the expression of RT induced phenotypic alterations impacting cell motility, clonogenic activity, and the capacity of Ca Ski cells to form tumors in nude mice. These findings suggest that HIV-RT, a multifunctional protein, affects HPV16-induced oncogenesis, which is achieved through modulation of the expression of the E6 oncoprotein. These results highlight a complex interplay between HIV antigens and HPV oncoproteins potentiating the malignant transformation of epithelial cells.

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