Preliminary data from Bovine Papillomavirus (BPV) MS/ComPASS experiments performed by Alvin Tan, a previous member of the Howley lab, have identified an uncharacterized interaction of BPV E2 with SMC5 and SMC6 (unpublished). The SMC5/6 complex is a part of the DNA damage response and is required for DNA double strand break repair and homologous recombination.41,42,43,45,47,48 The viral E1 protein induces a DNA damage response (DDR) in the nucleus and, together with E2, causes double strand breaks.18,19,20,56 E1- E2 replication foci contain DDR proteins and markers of homologous replication.19,56 I aim to determine whether interaction of SMC5/6 with E2 plays a role in viral replication or the localization of replication foci to vulnerable points in DNA, whic would be more susceptible to the integration of viral DNA. I have confirmed the interaction of HPV-16 and HPV-8 E2 with SMC6 through mammalian cell culture techniques and western blotting (unpublished). Papillomavirus E2 proteins of the Beta and Gamma genera, which includes HPV-8, display a unique binding pattern on host mitotic chromatin and unlike that of other genera, the host binding partner to chromatin is unknown.14,35,39 HPV-8 E2 and SMC5/6 share the same unique chromosomal association (to centromeres and rDNA loci), and thus I aim to determine whether the SMC5/6 complex is the principal tethering factor for these E2 proteins.48,50,54,65 Establishment of this complex in a tethering role during the genome maintenance phase, supports the hypothesis that it could mediate the concentration of viral genomes to fragile sites in host DNA upon induction of the host DDR, which occurs during the genome amplification phase. I also aim to use a proteomics approach to discover novel host-protein interactions of the HPV E2 protein and identify differences between the virus-host protein interactions of oncogenic and low-risk HPVs. I also aim to study the consequences of newly discovered interactions on the functions of E2 and the lifecycle and pathology of HPV. I plan to conduct a proteomic screen on a diverse group of E2 proteins. This technique will be comprised of mass spectrometry (MS) on E2 associated protein complexes, which will be co-immunoprecipitated from cell lines stably expressing these proteins, and subsequent Comparative Proteomic Analysis Software Suite (ComPASS) analysis in collaboration with the Harper lab at Harvard Medical School. This technique is expected to identify novel E2 high confidence interacting proteins unique to a particular HPV genus or species, or conserved across all HPV types. These techniques have been used successfully in previous studies in the Howley lab to uncover novel protein interactions of the HPV proteins E6 and E7.62,63,64 Through this proteomics technique, I aim to conduct a comprehensive survey of E2 binding partners.
This project will provide insights into the mechanism of early events in Human Papillomavirus infection. Despite the availability of a vaccine to high-risk HPV types, the vaccine confers minimal protection to those already infected with the virus. Identification of novel host-virus interactions at these stages of the virus life-cycle may provide new antiviral targets for the prevention of persistent infection with HPV.