Role of WDHD1 in human papillomavirus-mediated oncogenesis identified by transcriptional profiling of E7-expressing cells

Yunying Zhou, Qishu Zhang, Ge Gao, Xiaoli Zhang, Yafei Liu, Shoudao Yuan, Xiaowei Wang, Jason J. Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


The E7 oncoprotein of the high-risk human papillomavirus (HPV) plays a major role in HPV-induced carcinogenesis. E7 abrogates the G1 cell cycle checkpoint and induces genomic instability, but the mechanism is not fully understood. In this study, we performed RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) to characterize the transcriptional profile of keratinocytes expressing HPV 16 (HPV-16) E7. At the transcriptome level, 236 genes were differentially expressed between E7 and vector control cells. A subset of the differentially expressed genes, most of them novel to E7-expressing cells, was further confirmed by real-time PCR. Of interest, the activities of multiple transcription factors were altered in E7-expressing cells. Through bioinformatics analysis, pathways altered in E7-expressing cells were investigated. The upregulated genes were enriched in cell cycle and DNA replication, as well as in the DNA metabolic process, transcription, DNA damage, DNA repair, and nucleotide metabolism. Specifically, we focused our studies on the gene encoding WDHD1 (WD repeat and high mobility group [HMG]-box DNA-binding protein), one of the genes that was upregulated in E7-expressing cells. WDHD1 is a component of the replisome that regulates DNA replication. Recent studies suggest that WDHD1 may also function as a DNA replication initiation factor as well as a G1 checkpoint regulator. We found that in E7-expressing cells, the steady-state level of WDHD1 protein was increased along with the half-life. Moreover, downregulation of WDHD1 reduced E7-induced G1 checkpoint abrogation and rereplication, demonstrating a novel function for WDHD1. These studies shed light on mechanisms by which HPV induces genomic instability and have therapeutic implications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6071-6084
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of virology
Issue number13
StatePublished - 2016


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