Papillomavirus infection causes persistent epithelial lesions, known as papillomas. Papillomavirus infection is also associated with the development of cervical cancer. Our laboratory has established that papillomavirus genomes and the E2 transactivator protein interact with cellular mitotic chromosomes in dividing cells. This ensures that viral genomes are properly segregated to daughter cells and are retained within the nucleus.
Our aim i s to elucidate the mechanisms by which the E2 proteins control the viral life cycle. We have identified persistent and distinctive chromatin binding sites for the E2-Brd4 complex on human chromosomes. These novel sites persist in both interphase and mitotic cells. We propose that the viral DNA is tethered to these sites to maintain and partition the genomes. Understanding how the virus takes advantage of the inherent properties of the Brd4 protein is greatly increasing our understanding of epigenetic regulation and memory of the human genome. Comparative sequence and structural analysis of E2 proteins from different HPVs is providing insight into different mechanisms of persistent viral infection.

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Jang, Moon Kyoo; Shen, Kui; McBride, Alison A (2014) Papillomavirus genomes associate with BRD4 to replicate at fragile sites in the host genome. PLoS Pathog 10:e1004117
Gagnon, David; Senechal, Helene; D'Abramo, Claudia M et al. (2013) Genetic analysis of the E2 transactivation domain dimerization interface from bovine papillomavirus type 1. Virology 439:132-9
McBride, Alison A; Jang, Moon Kyoo (2013) Current understanding of the role of the Brd4 protein in the papillomavirus lifecycle. Viruses 5:1374-94
Jang, Moon Kyoo; Kwon, Deukwoo; McBride, Alison A (2009) Papillomavirus E2 proteins and the host BRD4 protein associate with transcriptionally active cellular chromatin. J Virol 83:2592-600
McBride, Alison A (2008) Replication and partitioning of papillomavirus genomes. Adv Virus Res 72:155-205