The HPV-16 E6/E7 early transcripts are first produced as bicistronic or polycistronic mRNAs, and about 90% of the original pre-mRNA is spliced to produce three new alternative mRNAs. HPV-16 spliced transcripts are expressed heterogeneously in tumors and cell lines. Our results suggest that suboptimal splicing acceptor sites in E6/E7 intron 1 and the differential expression of splicing factors are involved in the production of the heterogeneous splicing profile in cell lines. The unspliced pre-mRNA and the alternative spliced transcripts contribute differentially to the production of E7 in stably transfected C33-A cells. The highest level of E7 was produced from the least prevalent transcript, the unspliced E6/E7 pre-mRNA . The order of relative expression of E7 was unspliced E6/E7 pre-mRNA > E6*I/E7 > E6*II/E7. Our findings suggest that E6/E7 alternative splicing may be a mechanism for differential expression of the E6 and E7 oncoproteins, which also affects the expression of their targets, the proteins p53 and pRb.
Archives of Virology – Springer Journals
Published: Dec 1, 2010
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