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E5 can be expressed in anal cancer and leads to epidermal growth factor receptor-induced invasion in a human papillomavirus 16-transformed anal epithelial cell line


We created the first human papillomavirus (HPV)-16-immortalized anal epithelial cell line, known as AKC2 cells to establish an in vitro model of HPV-16-induced anal carcinogenesis. Consistent with detection of E6, E7 and E5 expression in anal cancer biopsies, AKC2 cells expressed high levels of all three HPV oncogenes. Also, similar to findings in anal cancer biopsies, epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) was overexpressed in AKC2 cells. AKC2 cells exhibited a poorly differentiated and invasive phenotype in three-dimensional raft culture and inhibition of EGFR function abrogated AKC2 invasion. Reducing E5 expression using E5-targeted siRNAs in AKC2 cells led to knockdown of E5 expression, but also HPV-16 E2, E6 and E7 expression. AKC2 cells treated with E5-targeted siRNA had reduced levels of total and phosphorylated EGFR, and reduced invasion. Rescue of E6/E7 expression with simultaneous E5 knockdown confirmed that E5 plays a key role in EGFR overexpression and EGFR-induced invasion.

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