Viral manipulation of the host epigenome for oncogenic transformation

Nat Rev Genet. 2009 May;10(5):290-4. doi: 10.1038/nrg2539.


The cancerous cellular state is associated with multiple epigenetic alterations, but elucidating the precise order of such alterations during tumorigenic progression and their contributions to the transformed phenotype remains a significant challenge in cancer biology. Here we discuss recent findings on how viral oncoproteins exploit specific epigenetic processes to coerce normal cells to replicate when they should remain quiescent - a hallmark of cancer. These findings may highlight roles of epigenetic processes in normal biology and shed light on epigenetic events occurring along the path of non-viral neoplastic transformation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Transformation, Viral / genetics*
  • Epigenesis, Genetic / genetics*
  • Genome*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / genetics
  • Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Oncogene Proteins, Viral / metabolism*


  • Oncogene Proteins, Viral